Challenge Summary   






Every year, multi-lateral organizations, NGOs, and other entities distribute hundreds of millions of sachets of MNPs to tackle global micronutrient malnutrition. MNPs are single-dose packets that contain a powder of essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, B-vitamins, zinc, and iron, that can be mixed into the available food after preparation and immediately prior to consumption in order to supply the essential micronutrients lacking in the diet. They do not alter the taste or appearance of the food to which they are added and can be effectively administered in a range of environments, and can be easily and cost-effectively delivered at scale.






An independent expert selection panel convened by Scientists Without Borders chose the winning solutions from 36 submissions that were generated from 15 countries over 90 days, with one-third of the submissions offered by solvers in the developing world.


The three winners, who will share in the $25,000 prize are:


  • First Place (Receiving $12,500): Jose Tarquino of Valley Stream, NY, for “New Double Sack (DS) economical packaging for ‘Essential Powdered Nutrition Supplements’,”


  • Second Place (Receiving $9,000):Ilya Mir of Sacramento, CA and Ellery West of Crescent City, CA, for "Repurposing Existing Condiment Packaging," and,


  • Third Place (Receiving $3,500): Mehrdad Keshmiri of Port Moody, Canada, for “Use of Chitosan setting solution for sustainable and effective packaging for essential powdered nutrient supplements to combat malnutrition.”

 To read more about the Winners' Announcement, please refer to the Official Press Release.





NineSigma, representing Scientists Without Borders, in partnership with The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science at the New York Academy of Sciences and DSM’s nutrition think tank Sight and Life, seeks ideas for more sustainable packaging for more effective delivery options for micronutrient powders (MNPs) of essential vitamins and minerals in very low resource environments in Developing Countries including Refugee Camps.





Up to $25,000 for novel, feasible, and cost-effective sustainable packaging ideas or new methods of delivering micronutrient powders to people in very low-resource settings in developing countries. Where practicable and feasible, there may be an opportunity for the winning solver to work with the consortium to further develop the selected idea.




The successful Idea will:

Offer a more sustainable packaging material that can be recycled or repurposed to reduce the effects of waste OR replace the current packaging method with an effective alternative method or approach to distributing MNPs to millions of individuals.

  • Adequately protect vitamins and minerals from degradation by moisture, UV light, heat and humidity.
  • Be safe and hygienic.
  • Cost <1.5 cents US / serving
  • Be compatible with manufacturing >100 million units per year.

Preferred but not required:

Where appropriate, include ideas/methods to repurpose the packaging or to collect and ship the used packages to recycling or composting centers.





MNPs are designed to address hidden hunger - the deficiency of essential micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) in a person’s diet even where sufficient caloric intake might exist. Hidden hunger affects an estimated 2 billion people around the world and is a critical global health and development issue. The adverse consequences of hidden hunger are felt most acutely in the developing world, where the lack of access to a variety of nutritious foods leads to a diet lacking in essential micronutrients.


Currently, the packaging for MixMe™, which is similar to other available MNP packaging, is comprised of a foil packet that is 4 cm x 6.5 cm and is made of two layers of composite foil composed of aluminum, PET, and polyethylene.


These types of packets are difficult to recycle, destroy, repurpose, or dispose of due to their current composition. In addition, the conditions under which many of them are distributed (refugee camps or environments with extremely limited waste systems) makes their disposal challenging. Consequently as a result of the large number of MNP sachets distributed each year, a great deal of collateral waste is generated in low-resource communities where MNPs are most valuable. Novel or alternative packaging and delivery approaches might also contribute to the scale-up of MNPs interventions by being more appealing from a design or delivery perspective.


The objective of this request is to source novel ideas for reducing or eliminating the ecological consequences of MNP packaging through innovative packaging materials and/or novel methods to deliver MNPs in a more sustainable and ecologically sensitive way that might also contribute to scaling-up their usage.