Partnering for improved nutrition in Central America

INCAP – The Nutrition Institute of Central America and Panama – was founded in 1949 with a mission to promote food security and nutrition in Latin America. INCAP developed the formula of Incaparina; a protein-rich nutritional powder based on soya and corn flour fortified with iron, zinc, calcium and vitamins. The Incaparina powder has been used as a food supplement in the region since the 1960’s.

In 2008, Tetra Pak and Tetra Laval Food for Development partnered with the INCAP in collaboration and support of our customer Alimentos S.A. to develop a ready-to-drink version of Incaparina. The idea behind the beverage format for Incaparina was to make it easier to distribute a food supplement in remote rural areas that lack access to refrigeration and clean water.

Local challenge

According to UNICEF, more than half of the population in Guatemala lives in poverty and 15 percent in extreme poverty. This percentage increases to 72 percent among the indigenous /populations in rural areas. Many children in Guatemala suffer from poverty and malnutrition as four in ten children under five are chronically malnourished, and almost 5 percent of children are stunted.

Access by safe nutrition to children is difficult given the lack of infrastructure at most schools. In addition, Guatemala has been adversely impacted by climate changes that includes drought, violent storms and a volcanic eruption, as well as by the economic situation in the country. The cost of damages and losses caused by adverse weather events in the country have been estimated to around 25 percent of the national budget.

School children with Incaparina drinks


In 2009, the ready-to-drink Incaparina packaged in Tetra Brik® Aseptic 200ml. Mid beverage cartons was introduced. Since 2010, this beverage is also available in chocolate and strawberry flavours, in addition to the original version.

The 200ml. beverage carton package size was selected for school feeding in Guatemala based on being the ideal size to provide nutrition to children. Furthermore, Incaparina in beverage cartons do not require a cold chain during transportation to schools and storage. This is particularly important for schools located in rural areas that do not have access to appropriate infrastructure.  In addition, the beverage cartons are easy to handle for consumption by children is the only locally produced, cereal/soya-based product available in this format that targets the most vulnerable socio-economic groups.


Since 2009, Incaparina in Tetra Brik Aseptic beverage cartons is being used in different government nutrition programmes, for example emergency and disaster relief feeding programmes targeting severely malnourished children in rural areas. In addition to being used for school feeding in Guatemala, it has been used in school and social feeding programmes in Belize, El Salvador and Panama.  It is also available in the commercial market via retailers.

Acceptability tests conducted in schools have shown a wide acceptance on the ready-to-drink Incaparina as more than 96 percent of the children like it.

School girls with Incaparina drinks