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How important are supermarkets for the diets of the urban poor in Africa?

R. Wanyama, T. Godecke and M. Qaim

No 277027, 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia from International Association of Agricultural Economists

Abstract: Many developing countries are undergoing a profound transformation of food systems. Especially in larger cities, supermarkets have become increasingly popular, affecting consumers food choices and diets. Previous research showed that supermarkets can have both positive and negative effects on dietary quality and nutrition. However, which households actually use supermarkets, and to what extent? While supermarket shopping is positively correlated with income, little is known about how important supermarkets are for the diets of the poor, who are of particular interest from a food policy perspective. The poorest of the urban poor often reside in informal settlements, so they are underrepresented in official surveys. We add to the literature by analyzing food consumption data collected from households in the poorest neighborhoods of Nairobi (Kenya) and Kampala (Uganda). We find high levels of nutritional deficiencies. Despite their ubiquitous presence, supermarkets are not yet very important for the diets of the urban poor. Supermarkets only account for 3% and 0.4% of sample households total food expenditures in Nairobi and Kampala, respectively. Especially unprocessed foods, which make up the largest share of calorie consumption, are primarily purchased in traditional retail outlets. We also show differences by food groups and income strata. Acknowledgement : This research was financially supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The authors thank the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), and the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO)-Uganda, for their research cooperation in the project Making Value Chains Work for Food and Nutrition Security for the Vulnerable Populations in East Africa (grant number C-030-16), and the great support during the survey.

Keywords: Consumer/Household; Economics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-afr, nep-agr and nep-dev
Date: 2018-07
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DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.277027

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