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Consumer acceptance of provitamin A-biofortified maize in Maputo, Mozambique

Stevens, Robyn, Winter-Nelson, Alex
Food policy 2008 v.33 no.4 pp. 341-351
consumer acceptance, carotenes, corn, malnutrition, food acceptability, vitamin A, vitamin deficiencies, sensory properties, staple foods, transgenic plants, plant breeding, field experimentation, consumer behavior, nutrient content, nutrition education, nutrition information, consumer surveys, traditional foods, corn meal, Mozambique
Biofortified staple foods hold the potential to alleviate micronutrient malnutrition in many impoverished regions of the world. However, biofortification often alters the flavor, appearance, and other features of foods in ways that may limit consumer acceptance of the new varieties and diminish their impact. This research examined the acceptance of provitamin A-biofortified maize through taste tests and a trading experiment conducted in Maputo, Mozambique. On average, participants ranked the taste, texture, and appearance of their local white maize over an orange, biofortified variety and over a white variety with similar texture and flavor as the biofortified maize. Nonetheless, a large share of participants in a framed experiment accepted offers to trade local white maize meal for meal from the biofortified maize. Household size, the presence of small children, dietary diversity, and perceived taste were statistically significant determinants of acceptance. Results suggest that existing preferences for white maize do not preclude acceptance of orange, biofortified varieties and that provitamin A-biofortified maize may be a self-targeting nutritional intervention.