Large numbers of infants and young children suffer from the short- and long-term health effects of poor breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices. Strategies to improve the availability of and access to low-cost fortified complementary foods can play an important corresponding role to that of behavior change in improving nutritional status of young children. However, the nutritional quality of complementary foods used in publicly funded programs is not always optimal, and such programs are costly and reach only a tiny fraction of those who could benefit. To broadly reach the target population, such foods need to be commercially available at affordable prices and promoted in a way that generates demand for their purchase. A sensible long-term policy for the promotion of low-cost fortified complementary foods calls for attention to their nutritional formulations and cost, the economics of production, and the legislative, regulatory, and competitive framework in which marketing occurs. This paper provides information on how to improve the nutritional formulations of fortified complementary foods and outlines the necessary conditions for a market approach to their production and promotion.
Macrolevel approaches to improve the availability of complementary foods