What determines consumption of fortified foods in Kenya: the potential for micronutrient malnutrition control

Food fortification is considered as an important strategy for addressing micronutrient malnutrition that includes vitamin A, iron and zinc deficiency in most developing countries. Development efforts have thus focused on breeding for crops that have natural ability to produce through a process widely known as bio-fortification. In Kenya, these efforts are being complemented with push pilot fortification of foods. The recently enacted National Food Security and Nutrition Policy aims to encourage industrial fortification of widely consumed foods with essential micronutrients. Despite these efforts there is still very weak information on factors affecting consumption of fortified foods hence the dearth of knowledge regarding consumption levels and patterns. This study therefore assessed factors affecting consumption of fortified foods. It focuses on Vitamin A fortified sugar and uses data collected from rural and peri-urban areas of Kenya through a binary probit model to examine consumption drivers. The results showed that point of purchase, trust for stakeholders involved in fortification, consumer awareness and knowledge of the importance of vitamin A have significant effects on consumption of fortified foods. These findings offer useful insights for the development of nutrition policies in Kenya, and Africa at large. The study also augurs well with the theme ‘Innovative Research and Technology for Global Development’ on the premise of value addition, food technology and human health development.

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Selected paper prepared for presentation at the 8th Annual Egerton University International Conference, Njoro, Kenya, 26th – 28th March, 2014

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