Photo: GAIN

Sharing knowledge and experiences to deliver effective nutrition solutions to the base of the pyramid

By Steve Godfrey, Director, Investments and Partnership,
Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)

Sharing knowledge and experiences to deliver
effective nutrition solutions to the base of the pyramid

Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)

The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) has been partnering with public and private sector organizations to deliver nutrition solutions to populations in need for 10 years. GAIN is now reaching more than 600 million people with nutritious foods which help them reach their full potential.

Today GAIN is excited to launch the ‘Nutrition Zone’, the first online platform dedicated to multi-stakeholder approaches to improved nutrition. We are proud to launch this platform through the network Business Fights Poverty, which is reaching professionals across sectors with cutting edge approaches and best practices.

By tapping into the range of experience across development sectors – at the national and international level – we hope to broaden and strengthen the community of actors invested in the critical issue of global malnutrition, which is affecting two billion people worldwide and has a direct impact on all the major development goals.

GAIN’s vision is a world without malnutrition. Our mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable populations through access to affordable, high quality and nutritious foods. Our core approach is to mobilize public and private sectors to develop and distribute high quality nutritious foods and food products to consumers at price points they can afford. We believe innovation and partnership are critical to address this problem sustainably and at scale.

Business is an essential component of our partnership model, particularly now, as nutrition is under the spotlight. It is higher on the global agenda than ever before, and momentum to improve the nutritional value of foods is growing fast.

The lowest income consumer groups, often called the base of the pyramid (BoP) have less than a few dollars to spend every day. Despite the limited financial resources, these populations don’t want to live off handouts or relief. They want to manage for themselves– but lack access to high quality, affordable products. Tapping into this market is challenging, but when done right it is an effective and sustainable approach to tackling malnutrition. By openly sharing knowledge and best practice gathered over the last decade, and by unlocking the collective knowledge of partners around the world, we may actually one day realize our vision of a world without malnutrition.

Knowledge sharing will help us revolutionise the business models currently being used to reach the BoP. We believe that within all the current models there exists a viable approach to providing social impact and meeting business bottom line. Currently, the conventional return on investment for delivering quality products to the BoP can be as much as 14 years; a substantial difference from the 3-4 years expected for conventional market segments. Reaching these consumers requires patience and long term investment, and it also requires flexibility, for example, to accommodate sudden increases in the costs of raw materials. There are many challenges, but tremendous opportunity exists for organizations that can develop and scale solutions – we know the potential size of this market is nearly $3 trillion for the food sector alone.

We aim to foster innovation to encourage the free flow of ideas and experiences to unlock this vast potential, helping to provide a business perspective to what has for years been an intractable issue. We are excited for this opportunity and hope you will join us, both in sharing knowledge and experience and in investing in real opportunities which can change the lives of people all over the world.

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