Reimagining affordable nutrition

Working with Nestlé to make nutritious food accessible to families in Côte d’Ivoire

Limited access to
affordable nutritious food

Three billion people around the world don’t have access to affordable nutritious food, including whole grains which provide fibre, vitamins, minerals and protein. This problem grew worse with pandemic-related supply chain disruptions and a war between two countries that provide a quarter of the world’s wheat.

Nestlé developed a new line of low-cost, smaller sized porridge sachets for Central and West Africa, using locally sourced whole grains and fortified with Vitamin A and iron. The smaller portioned products allowed the cost to be reduced and become affordable. We set out to validate the potential of these new affordable health foods in parts of Côte d’Ivoire where standard digital market research techniques (from cameras that track shoppers’ eyes to online ads) were not always available.

research methods

The low-tech sales environment was an opportunity for a back-to-the-future approach. We used hybrid shop testing in Abidjan to identify if there was a market for prêt-a-manger cereal in the base-of-the-pyramid market, and to gather insights about local habits and tastes. By controlling the inventory in twenty stores, we could track both new product and competitor sales rates. Meanwhile, we talked to buyers and shopkeepers, getting to the core of what drove consumption.

Product and
market insights

Our work for Nestlé validated the launch of its new line of affordable healthy porridges and forecasted that they would capture a dominant market share. Both the quantitative and qualitative findings showed the importance to consumers of the nutritional aspects of the product as well as the low cost. The research also showed the importance of brand ambassadors in this base-of-the-pyramid market. In addition, we uncovered possibilities for expanding the brand with more whole-grain varieties to satisfy local habits and tastes. In these ways, we have helped Nestlé open new paths to daily affordable nutritious food for more than twenty million people in Côte d’Ivoire.

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