When Eric Muraguri noticed women collecting chicken byproduct parts outside a Nairobi poultry processing plant where he worked, he decided to start a service to provide safe and affordable protein to some of Kenya’s poorest people.
At the time, Muraguri was working at the largest poultry company in East Africa. Today he is the founder of Chicken Choice, with nine shops, or “bandas,” across Kenya supplying affordable chicken products suitable for human consumption. Muraguri’s target market comprises mainly women and children, who are the most vulnerable to malnutrition.
“Protein helps women and children access essential amino acids and prevent diseases related to low protein content in the diet. I looked into how these meat products could be transported to these women in a safe and hygienic way,” says Muraguri, who has a Master’s degree in Public Health.
The quick growth of Muraguri’s business has not been without its challenges, in particular finding a way to meet demand without reliable refrigeration en route from farms to the outlets. This challenge isnot unique. Unlike in the developed world, where food waste typically occurs after purchase, most food loss in the developing world takes place before goods can even reach consumers – a result of harvesting fruits and vegetables when they are already ripe and transporting food without adequate storage and cooling facilities.
Of particular concern is the loss of nutrient-dense produce – vegetables, fruits, fish, meat and dairy – some 50 percent of which goes to waste annually. The result is lower incomes for farmers, higher prices for consumers and copious loss and waste, putting nutritious foods further out of reach.
With support from Feed the Future, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)
is tackling these and other challenges through its Marketplace for Nutritious Foods, which provides grants and technical support to advance innovative ideas for increasing consumer access to local sources of diverse, nutritious and affordable foods. The Marketplace is active in Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique and works with entrepreneurs to grow businesses that are too large for microfinance and too small or immature for commercial lending.
In Kenya, the Marketplace has helped Chicken Choice overcome its cold chain challenges and increase its reach to low- and middle-income consumers by helping Muraguri to source and purchase a refrigerated truck. “This will help us meet the growing demand,” says Muraguri.
The Marketplace is also supporting farmer Clement Mwangi in launching an innovative coin-operated Maziwa King milk dispenser to enable Kenyans who do not have refrigerators to purchase milk at an affordable price and in the quantity they need. Mwangi, a finance graduate, will use his Marketplace grant to create 12 more Maziwa King kiosks next to or in low-income areas around Nairobi. He will also buy a refrigerated truck to assist with distribution.
Mwangi hopes to expand throughout Kenya and beyond its borders. “We see ourselves going very big,” he says.
The Marketplace for Nutritious Foods is managed by GAIN with initial funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development under the Feed the Future initiative. GAIN is driven by the vision of a world without malnutrition. Today, GAIN’s programs reach more than 890 million people with nutritious foods. Read more about GAIN’s Marketplace for Nutritious Foods.