The "Asia Responsible Enterprise Awards" (AREA) is organized by the Asian Enterprise Association to assess and honor socially responsible enterprises, evaluate the project's impact on social development and its influence on the quality of human life, and contribute to sustainable development.
The awards are evaluated by a distinguished panel of scholars and top advisors in the region. The awards consist of six categories: Green Leadership, Investment in People, Health Enhancement, Social Promotion, Social Responsibility of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
In 2018, UNIBEN was honored with the "Asia Responsible Enterprise Award" in the category of "Community Health Enhancement" for its active and effective efforts in reducing the risk of iodine deficiency-related diseases in the community in Vietnam. This marked the first time that a Vietnamese food and seasoning enterprise received this prestigious award.
UNIBEN's project made a strong impression on the judging panel of the award, consisting of leading scholars and advisors in the region. In particular, the project "3 Miền" seasoning cubes fortified with iodine was highly recognized as a practical initiative, given the alarming concerns raised by nutrition experts about Vietnam's return to a severe iodine deficiency period, ranking among the 19 countries with the worst iodine deficiency in the world.
The "3 Miền" bouillon fortified with iodine are currently the only seasoning cubes that have successfully applied the formula and technological process from the research project "Fortifying Iodine in Seasoning to Improve Iodine Deficiency in the Community" into industrial production. The project was led by Dr. Do Thi Ngoc Diep and Dr. Ta Thi Lan, with special attention from the Department of Science and Technology and the Nutrition Center of Ho Chi Minh City, in accordance with the National Nutrition Strategy of the Ministry of Health.
The "3 Miền" bouillon fortified with iodine are recommended by doctors at the Ho Chi Minh City Nutrition Center as an effective and simple solution to prevent disorders caused by iodine deficiency. They have been highly praised by Dr. Friday Nwaigwe, the Head of the Child Survival and Development Program at UNICEF Vietnam. The research team has been awarded a commendation by the People's Committee of Ho Chi Minh City for their outstanding contributions in implementing the National Nutrition Strategy and improving community health.
The research shows a significant increase in urinary iodine levels, which is meaningful in terms of disease prevention, among users of the "3 Miền" bouillon fortified with iodine (average urinary iodine level increased to 320.6 ± 42.3 mcg/24 hours, which is 2.3 times higher than those using non-iodized seasoning cubes). There is also an increase in dietary iodine intake (average intake of 264 ± 126 mcg/day) compared to when using non-fortified seasoning cubes (average intake of 95.6 ± 50.1 mcg/day). The taste and flavor of the dishes remain intact and delicious. The recommended consumption of the iodine-fortified "3 Miền" bouillon is 10g/day/person, ensuring an adequate supply of iodine and recommended dietary sodium intake by the Ministry of Health to prevent iodine deficiency disorders.
"Receiving the regional Asia Responsible Enterprise Award is a significant recognition and encouragement for us, inspiring us to stay committed to developing products that bring the best benefits to consumers and contribute to improving community health," emphasized Mr. Vu Tien Dung, the CEO of UNIBEN.