To achieve healthy diets, consumers need access to nutritious food in markets. However, access alone does not guarantee that all family members eat healthy foods. Other factors, like affordability, consumer preferences, convenience, and desirability also shape consumer diets. USAID Advancing Nutrition is collaborating with a wide range of partners to develop and test measures of consumer demand generation.
Private-sector companies, governments, and programs aim to increase demand for healthy diets by understanding consumer needs and preferences and making nutritious foods more available, affordable, convenient, and desirable. This includes improving the safety, quality, and appeal of nutritious foods. Programs usually measure how much of the nutritious food is sold or consumed, but this information does not tell the whole story. More comprehensive measures are needed to understand what works, why, and how to scale up successful approaches.
For example, collecting incremental measures between food sales and consumption, such as beliefs about food safety and family support to purchase it, allows programmers and researchers to track changes in demand, identify constraints, and assess the extent to which demand-generation efforts are in line with program expectations. USAID Advancing Nutrition is working to develop and test measures of consumer demand generation by identifying factors that prevent or support consumers in purchasing nutrient-rich foods, and a set of measures that can be feasibly added into on-going data collection systems. USAID Advancing Nutrition is collaborating with several USAID activities to test and refine these measures. The final instruments and recommendations will help activities improve demand for healthy diets.