In the fight against undernutrition, policymakers are seeking to use markets to increase access to nutrient-rich foods. Yet ensuring food reaches those most affected by undernutrition requires shaping the markets and businesses from which they source food.
Poor people in rural and urban areas tend to buy food – including the foods most important for nutrition – not from large businesses, but from small enterprises and informal markets. To make a difference in these markets, development actors have to work differently. Experiences of past programmes highlight the importance of building the capacity of informal businesses, capitalising on their flexibility and building consumer trust. Better data, innovative research and experimentation need to be the priorities for policymakers.