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Vitalius fights chronic nutritional deficiencies of children under 5 years and pregnant women by fortifying and commercializing panela.


Investee Vitalius, founded 2012
Location Colombia
Sector Health
Funding period 2013-2015
Funding type Convertible debt




  • In Colombia, 13.2% of children under 5 years of age (620’000) suffer from malnutrition
  • Many of these children specifically suffer from deficiencies in iron, zinc and vitamins which stunt brain development, weaken the immune system, and increased incidence and severity of diarrhea and pneumonia
  • These same deficiencies can raise the risk of maternal mortality and premature births in pregnant women


  • Vitalius produces fortified “panela” an unrefined cane sugar product widely consumed by the BOP in Colombia (32kg per year per capita)
  • The vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B9, B12) and minerals (iron, zinc) are obtained from a leading European life sciences company
  • Vitalius sells to community cafeterias that serve low income children and pregnant women as well as local retail stores
  • Vitalius is scaling its impact by certifying mills across the country, selling them the enrichment inputs, and connecting them to institutions and retail channels

Impact depth

Fortifying this traditional product can provide for 10-80% of recommended daily intake of key vitamins and minerals, strengthening the immune system, cognitive development and physical development.

Impact Reach 2013 2014
# Children regularly served panela through institutions 5'268 10'800
# Institutions serving enriched panela 27 n/a
# Tones of fortified panela consumed 10 268