Balancing health, cost and convenience in feeding infants and young children in Accra

The purpose of this study was to examine the potential of Maisoyforte 6-24, a new fortified, non-instant cereal for infants and young children (IYC), which was proposed by a local Ghanaian company to the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) for start-up support.

The study report is based on data that were collected with the first draft of the modules of the Focused Ethnographic Study Protocol, which is a component of the APCCF (“Assessing the Potential of a Commercial Complementary Food). The latter is a tool that is being developed to provide GAIN with information that can be used to “assess market opportunities and infant young child feeding behaviour for potential GAIN-supported projects.” 

The study was conducted in greater Accra, in 8 urban and peri-urban communities representing a range from very poor families to families with more stable, but non-salaried, sources of income. In addition to extensive mixed method interviews with 30 mothers of IYC 6-24 months of age, sub-studies were conducted with street vendors (producers/sellers) of ready-to-eat household foods, owners of kiosks and stores that sell IYC food products, and crèches where IYC are taken for care when mothers work outside the home and do not take their infants with them.

The study found that proposed non-instant Mysoyforte 6-24 is unlikely to be successful. However, it is probable that an instant, fortified cereal, sold in small packets, and at a lower price than the current multi-national product, and with equal organoleptic properties, could, if effectively promoted, be a viable, commercial success.