A City-Retail Outlet Inventory of Processed Dairy and Grain Foods: Evidence from Mali

Véronique Thériault, Amidou Assima, Ryan Vroegindewey, David Tschirley, and Naman Keita. 2017. A City-Retail Outlet Inventory of Processed Dairy and Grain Foods: Evidence from Mali. Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy Research Paper 65. East Lansing: Michigan State University.

The Malian agri-food system is transforming rapidly, in part due to increased demand for processed foods that are easy-to-prepare and ready-to-eat by the growing urban consumers. Yet, little is known about the scale and scope of this ongoing transformation in the agri-food system. To better understand the general trends in terms of diversity, availability and prevalence of imports as well as key characteristics of processed foods, we conducted a city-retail outlet inventory of processed dairy and cereal foods in 2016. We visited 100 retail outlets, including central and neighborhood markets, supermarkets as well as neighborhood and grocery stores, located across low, medium, and high income neighborhoods of four major cities in Mali.

Findings show that:
1) there are 15 and 36 different types of processed dairy and cereal products;
2) availability of processed foods differs widely across neighborhoods, cities, and retail outlets;
3) there is a relatively high dependence on imports; and
4) there exist differences in product attributes across local and imported food products. Taken together, our results indicate that the transformation of the agri-food system is still at its early stages in Mali. The greatest opportunity for the expansion of the Malian agro-processing segment lies in making and selling more processed food items out of locally available raw agricultural materials, since it is where local firms are the most competitive.

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