Complementary Food for Africa: New Report and Webinar Released
The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Soybean Value Chain Research (Soybean Innovation Lab or SIL) Human Nutrition team presented a webinar on April 25, 2018 focused on its evaluation of a new early childhood nutrition product called Complementary Food for Africa (ComFA). ComFA is made from orange-fleshed sweet potato, which is high in energy and Vitamin A, as well as soy flour, which contains high-quality protein. In collaboration with the University for Development Studies and Catholic Relief Services in Ghana, SIL tested the nutritional value, acceptability and feasibility of ComFA compared to mainstream complementary feeding products in Ghana. The study addressed critical feasibility and acceptability questions, including: will mothers will offer ComFA to their children, will children consume ComFA, and is ComFA easy to prepare in the kitchen? These research questions address critical aspects of acceptability and feasibility necessary for successfully commercializing a new complementary feeding product.
SIL is now circulating the results of its evaluation to the development community through the April 25 webinar and a published report. Findings from the evaluation can help development partners make informed decisions regarding the complementary food products they choose to use in their early childhood nutrition programming, especially if they are looking for alternative or new products. SIL’s findings show ComFA to be superior in terms of nutrition and cost effectiveness when compared to the current offerings, Cerelac and Weanimix, and found ComFA to be acceptable in terms of feasibility in preparation and acceptability among infants.
SIL’s evaluation serves as a model for the development community of the importance of a holistic approach to testing new products that addresses issues of feasibility, acceptability and commercialization when seeking to implement and scale new products in early child nutrition programming. The webinar focused on the different variables to consider when evaluating complementary feeding products as well as how to model a feasibility and acceptability study. Associated findings can provide important insights for development interventions focused on early childhood nutrition.
SIL researchers next will turn their attention to understanding the comparative energy use efficiency and the relative ingredient availability of ComFA to ensure ComFA can serve as a viable and improved complementary feeding product for West Africa.
Read the report.
Watch the webinar.
Learn more about SIL's work with soy for improved childhood nutrition.