LEI Wageningen (ENRICH)

ENRICH - Enriching vegetable consumption by using reliable, cheap and fast consumer-generated data: a proof of principle study for real-time and in-situ method and metrics to assess vegetables intake by targeted consumers in Nairobi, Kenya.

PI: Ruerd Ruben
Start date: 1 February 2017
Duration: 24 months
Value: £250,000
Countries of research: Kenya

Project summary

This project will develop and validate a tool and metrics that can provide reliable information on fruit and vegetable (F&V) intake and Food Choice Motives (FCM) in real-time and in-situation from Kenyan urban consumers. With this validated tool it aims to contribute to the overall long-term goal to increase F&V intake in the urban areas of LMICs, with Nairobi in Kenya as case study.

In order to stimulate F&V consumption better insights in the actual consumption (“what” and “how much”), situational factors (“when” and “where”) and motives (“why”) are needed. Current methods on food intake and food choice motives come with a number of drawbacks (e.g. high burden for the respondent, recall bias, social responsibility bias etc.). Moreover, the data collection process is often time-consuming and the information is limited: the integration of food intake, situational factors and underlying motives is mostly absent. Because of the increasing prevalence of the double burden of malnutrition among urban consumers and exposure to location-specific food choice environments (e.g. price and product quality) with its socio-psychological interactions, one tool is needed that captures these domains in real-time and in-situation. Therefore we aim to develop and validate a tool and metrics that will overcome shortcomings of the traditional methods and which will enrich F&V intake data with context specifications and underlying motivations. This will lead to an increased understanding of food behaviour.

This project is relevant for nutrition and health efforts in LMICS on the following aspects.

The social impact of the tool and metrics can be found in the use of the insights it will generate for nutritionists, policy makers, researchers and business and ultimately health improvements in the general public. The identification of risks, but also interventions and information targeting will benefit from the insights the metrics can provide.

Scientific impact will be achieved on the following aspects, (i) an integrated method for food intake and determinants of choice; (ii) cultural specific validation of the metrics; (iii) insights into the changing food consumption patterns in urban LMICS; (iv) insights to increase the ability of agro-food & health systems to adapt to changes in the environment and apply resilience strategies. The proposal takes this into account, including its socioeconomic aspects.

Economic impact: the proposed metric and tool will also be of relevance to supply chain stakeholders, supply chain programmes and to food & health institutions and programmes. The project relates to sustainable and efficient linkages between production and consumption systems and will provide insights to develop strategies on resource use efficiency. Gathered insights can be used as a base for product development and interventions that better fit with the needs of a diverse range of consumers and will contribute to an on average higher intake of (F&V).