Sugar could be a staple vehicle for vitamin C fortification and it is likely to be cooked for a shorter period than cereals. Peter Ryffel (Roche, personal communication) stated that from a technological viewpoint, sugar is an ideal vehicle for the vitamin, however the stability of vitamin C would have to be assessed. Because of high humidity in many countries the problem of 'caking' of the sugar and its effect on the vitamin C content would also have to be looked into. There seems to be no practical experience in vitamin C fortification of sugar.
Sugar in beverages fortified with vitamin C helps to protect the vitamin. One of the best vehicles for the fortification of vitamin C are sweets (personal communication, Roche). The hydroxyl groups in the sugar tend to seal the vitamin off from the effects of oxygen. From a technological point of view sugar seems to be an ideal vehicle for fortification with vitamin C. No alterations of colour, taste and texture of the sugar is expected when fortified with vitamin C powder.
In South Africa there are two well equipped sugar mills ('Tongaat' and 'Ilivo') that are working on the fortification of sugar with vitamin A. The people are strongly motivated and would most probably willingly agree to carry out a pilot study using vitamin C. However one would have to consider the higher costs of sugar purchased there. Also in Kenya the 'House of Manji' produces blended cereal-legume foods and would have the equipment to blend sugar and vitamin C powder. Expertise would be available there to follow up on the study and to monitor the process.
Oil and water are other potential vehicles for vitamin C fortification and will be discussed in more detail in the next section.