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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Household Demand for Child Micronutrient Supplementation in Burkina Faso


The success of Plumpy’Nut®, a ready-to-eat therapeutic food (RUTF), in treating severe acute malnutrition (SAM) revolutionized the treatment of SAM and sparked efforts to develop, test, and distribute small-quantity lipid-based nutrient supplement (SQ-LNS) products aimed at preventing undernutrition. The move from a targeted therapeutic RUTF to broadly distributed preventative SQ-LNS products designed for daily consumption will likely require the private sector to play more centralproduction and delivery roles, which hinge on persistent private demand for these supplements. We use experimental markets for SQ-LNS in rural Burkina Faso to shed light on household demand forpreventative SQ-LNS. In collaboration with local vendors, we conducted a 62-week market trial in 14 villages that enabled us to test the effects of both price and non-price factors on the persistence of household demand. We find that price elasticity of demand for these supplements is high on average, but that repeat purchases are more price-sensitive than first-time purchases. We also find that a loyaltycard that offers a small reward to those purchasing an entire month’s supply of SQ-LNS strongly boosts persistent demand. Both the price and non-price demand effects diminish after a few weeks, underscoring the challenge of persistent demand. In this rainfed agricultural context, rainfallfluctuations also shape demand in potentially important ways. Tapping the full potential of micronutrient supplements will likely require innovative supply chains and hybrid private-public delivery strategies that enable cost-sharing and efficiency gains.

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