Journal Article

IDS Bulletin Vol. 46 Nos. 3

Markets for Nutrition: What Role for Business?

Published on 19 May 2015

Policymakers are increasingly seeking to use food systems to help reduce rates of chronic undernutrition and to use markets to deliver nutrient-rich foods to vulnerable populations.

This article examines how this might be achieved, drawing lessons from three intervention types: ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTFs), mandatory fortification and voluntarily fortified products. We find that a common set of constraints tends to inhibit markets from delivering nutrition and makes it difficult to reach populations at the ‘bottom of the pyramid’. Overcoming these constraints requires a shift from working at the level of individual businesses to that of market and food systems. It also suggests a need for renewed focus on the effectiveness of products in reaching key groups, on the informal markets that serve the poor and on the inherent complexity of market systems. These findings suggest that food and nutrition policies and partnerships should be based on principles of experimentation and adaptive learning.

Related Content

This article comes from the IDS Bulletin 46.3 (2015) Markets for Nutrition: What Role for Business?

Cite this publication

Humphrey, J. and Robinson, E. (2015) Markets for Nutrition: What Role for Business?. IDS Bulletin 46(3): 59-69


John Humphrey

Professorial Fellow

Ewan Robinson

Publication details

published by
Institute of Development Studies
IDS Bulletin, volume 46, issue 3


About this publication

Programmes and centres
Business and Development Centre

Related content

Working Paper

Effective Social Protection in Conflict: Findings from Sudan

Working Paper

Izzy Birch & 2 others

22 February 2024