Marketing Nutrition for the Base of the Pyramid

17 June 2014

As part of its work to improve nutrition for low-income consumers and vulnerable groups, GAIN has funded a new report from Hystra, a global consulting firm.

The report takes a first step in the understanding of market-based contributions to addressing malnutrition in the critical period of complementary feeding. 

Download the report

Eight key lessons have been identified:

1. Marketing nutrition is not (only) about health: the value proposition should provide an immediate satisfaction to the child and convenience for the mother, while meeting local food habits.

2. Consumers at the base of the pyramid are ready to pay more for nutritious products that they value: mothers want to give their children the most expensive – seen as the best – food they can afford, not the cheapest product on the market.

3. Effective promotion leverages trust and aspirations: this might include promotion or sampling through health professionals (when in line with local laws), aligning the entire caretaker environment to motivate behaviour change, and using aspirational (rather than health) messages.

4. Constant reminders and incentives drive compliance, which is key to simultaneously achieve social objectives and economic sustainability for the marketers of these products.

5. When traditional retail exists, in rural and mature markets, it is the most cost efficient distribution channel: beyond marketing practices, daily product availability is necessary for regular use and must be achieved at the lowest possible costs.

6. Door-to-door sales can create demand and build client loyalty in new urban markets, or in existing markets where consumers demand services which can only be provided by door-to-door.

7. Optimizing salesforce productivity requires following private sector best practices for other types of fast moving consumer goods, and innovating “frugally” for distribution solutions.

8. Broadening the customer base is key to building a sustainable business, i.e., by creating additional premium products, catering to a larger population than infants and young children, or carefully leveraging large-scale institutional orders.

View the report

GAIN will roll-out these lessons at a country level, supporting local companies in their efforts to develop and increase access to nutritious products for this age group. In our future work, we aim to continue to broaden the evidence base of this new area of intervention, and invite others to document and share their experiences as well.

Hystra is a global consulting firm that works with business and social sector pioneers to design and implement inclusive business approaches that are profitable, scalable and eradicate social and environmental problems

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