Making Markets Work

We want food systems to provide nutritious and safe food for all. Globally, one in three people currently experience some form of malnutrition, ranging from undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, to overweight and obesity. In low and middle-income countries, especially in Africa and Asia, the poorest and most vulnerable people often lack access to safe, affordable and nutritious food. If this continues, not only will we fail to meet the Sustainable Development Goal 2, but persistent malnutrition will hamper progress against all the Sustainable Development Goals.

This programme, supported with $23m of funding from six leading donors, aims to change this, and explores how markets can be harnessed to improve access and consumption of nutritious foods, and reduce the consumption of less healthy foods and beverages.

The lack of focus on market-based solutions needs greater attention and engagement. A lack of trust between different actors, knowledge and understanding of what to do, where, how, and with whom prevents more public and private actors engaging and acting to improve nutrition.

With support from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, Irish Aid, Swiss Development Cooperation, Canada’s International Development and Research Center (IDRC) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the “Making Markets Work” (MMW) programme aims to enable markets to improve the availability, affordability and desirability of nutritious and safe foods for all.

How do we do this?

Markets are influenced by businesses (who produce, process, transport and sell our food), governments (who create policy and set ‘the rules’ of the market) and consumers (who demand, buy and consume food). In this programme, we will create a series of new tools, models and approaches to influence these actors to steer towards improving the consumption of nutritious and safe foods.

At the country level, we work closely with governments, businesses, and other national stakeholders to generate and seize opportunities to improve the availability, affordability and desirability of nutritious and safe food. We are creating a number of tools to support public and private actors to enhance what they are doing to improve nutrition at country level.

At the global level, the programme promotes learning and dialogue between business leaders, government officials, donors, academics and civil society representatives to deepen and illustrate the conditions for successful public-private partnerships in nutrition.

The Making Markets Work programme is comprised of six workstreams carefully designed to address key barriers which prevent markets from facilitating the consumption of nutritious and safe foods. Below is a brief summary of what GAIN will do in these 6 workstreams:

  • Building Demand: Develop new models and approaches to understand how we can drive more demand for nutritious foods in a market setting.
  • Ease of Doing Business in Nutrition: Supporting governments to prioritise, facilitate and encourage business action and investment to improve diets.
  • Innovation: Identification of key barriers in nutritious food value chains which require innovation, and leveraging new technological innovations to surface new ideas to overcome these.
  • Impact Assessment: Developing new metrics and methods to better understand and map impact pathways of public-private actions in nutrition, and generating more rigorous evidence of what works, when and how.
  • Business and Nutrition Knowledge Hub: Building a new knowledge hub (Nutrition Connect) and developing an executive-level short course to generate, collate and share knowledge of what works, how, and why in public-private engagements in nutrition.
  • Business Accountability in Nutrition: Creating a new national accountability mechanism to support businesses in understanding the affect they are having on nutritious food systems and supporting them to identify actions they can take to improve diets.

Through these six interlinked workstreams, we will develop new models, tools and approaches to help governments prioritise business action in nutrition; build trust and accountability of businesses acting in nutrition; generate, collate and share knowledge of what works and how in public-private engagements for nutrition; generate new, targeted strategies for demand creation of nutritious foods; and new innovative solutions to barriers which prevent nutritious and safe foods reaching the plates of vulnerable communities in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

The work is delivered in partnership with a dozen implementing partners including civil society, business associations, media, research organisations and leading universities.