Retailing of Processed Dairy and Grain Products in Mali: Evidence from a City Retail Outlet Inventory
March 9, 2018 - Author: Theriault, V., Vroegindewey, R, Assima, A., and Keita, N
Theriault, V., Vroegindewey, R, Assima, A., and Keita, N. 2018. Retailing of Processed Dairy and Grain Products in Mali: Evidence from a City Retail Outlet Inventory. Urban Science, 2(24)
As in many sub-Saharan African countries, Mali is experiencing an unprecedented rate of urbanization and, with it, changes to its agri-food system. As more people live in urban areas, the demand for processed foods has been increasing rapidly. These changes have important implications for food and nutrition security. Yet, little is known about the scale and scope of the retailing of processed foods. To better understand this segment, we conducted a city retail outlet inventory of processed dairy and cereal foods in 2016. The main findings are that: (1) food availability is greater in the capital, high-income neighborhoods, and supermarkets; (2) there is a high prevalence of imported foods; (3) added sugar and vegetable fats are listed as a top-three ingredient in a quarter of processed products, highlighting issues related to healthfulness; (4) price premiums are paid for products that are imported from Europe, use improved packaging, and are retailed in supermarkets. Taken together, our findings indicate that the transformation in the Malian agri-food system is still at an early stage. The growing demand for processed foods presents economic opportunities for Malian farmers and processors, especially if they can improve product quality, packaging, and distribution.