A Market-Based Approach to Child Nutrition: Mothers’ Demand for Quality Certification of Infant Foods in Bamako, Mali

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This paper analyses the potential impact of introducing quality certification to the market for infant foods in a very low-income country, where malnutrition is widespread. Using an experimental-economics approach, we find that a program to sample, test and certify the nutrient density of products could promote a more competitive market for low-cost fortified foods and be implemented on a self-financing basis, yielding net economic benefits on the order of US$1 million per year in the city of Bamako. We find that mothers’ demand for quality information rises with their education and income level, but is higher than the estimated cost of certification even among the very poor and uneducated.