Creating demand for nutrition and promoting behavior change


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The 2018 edition of the Latin American Society for Nutrition (Sociedad Latinoamericana de Nutrición, SLAN) conference took place in Guadalajara, Mexico from 12-15 November. SLAN 2018 brought together nutrition professionals from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and around the world to share experiences, disseminate research findings, and discuss relevant issues on the nutrition situation in LAC and how to improve it.

The conference included over 60 unique sessions on topics ranging from front-of-package food labeling to the double burden of malnutrition to the role of traditional food systems to improve nutrition. Sight and Life was thrilled to join in many of the discussions, as well as host our very own panel “Demand for nutrition – driving motivation, interest, and repeat purchases for more nutritious foods,” which explored the topic of demand generation for nutrition and, specifically, how to drive motivation, consumer interest, and generating demand for nutritious foods, resulting in repeat purchases or changes in nutrition behaviors across different contexts.

The panel included four presentations from thought-leaders and experts in the areas of demand creation and through practical examples and case studies from the region, they explored how social marketing and Social and Behavior Change Communication can increase demand for nutrition. The first presenter and moderator was Dr. Eva Monterrosa, Senior Scientific Manager at Sight and Life, who explained what demand for nutrition is and how it fits with other strategies in nutrition for changing behaviors.

 Next, Carlos Andres Gallegos Riofrío, Researcher at the Institute for Research in Health and Nutrition, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador, shared results from the Lulun Project in Ecuador. The Lulun Project was a social marketing strategy that accompanied a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of a food‐based intervention that introduced eggs into the complementary feeding diet of older infants and young children in Ecuador. The strategy was designed to promote behavior change, in this case, egg consumption, through voluntary prosocial behavior, empowerment, and brand loyalty. A three‐phase social marketing strategy (design, campaigns, and evaluation) contributed to the success of the project by applying techniques drawn from marketing, publicity, design, and communications. The social marketing techniques used in the study proved successful for program acceptance and compliance and provide important lessons and a model for scaling up food‐based intervention—or others like it—in Ecuador and beyond.

The third presenter on the panel was Patricia Poppe, Team Leader for Latin America and Lusophone Africa at the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Program, who shared findings from the implementation of Guatemala’s Integrated Social and Behavior Change strategy – Together We Prosper. We Dare. We Advance – focused on strengthening the household as the “heart of change” for malnutrition, where mothers-in-law/grandmothers and husbands play a key role in triggering change. In addition to identifying key influencers, the strategy also emphasized community leadership to tackle stunting and community facilitators who demonstrate the change that is possible; as well as used a variety of methods to showcase successes.

The last presenter was Lynda Barfield, Chief Creative Officer, Creative Conscience who highlighted the case of salt reduction in countries in Latin America and the role of social marketing in influencing consumers to make healthy choices. Specifically, Lynda highlighted the importance of a “Marketing Mix (‘4Ps’) to salt reduction – product strategies (such as front of package labeling and product reformulation), price strategies including taxation on high salt foods (not yet happening in LAC), place strategies (removing salt from public spaces), and promotion strategies. Policy is also an important lever to changing consumption patterns, and regulation has been shown to play an important role in behavior change in countries in the region, including in countries like Chile and Brazil where there are national regulations on food advertising.

Overall, it was an inspiring panel and we are so appreciative to all the speakers and participants who joined us! Stay tuned for more exciting work from Sight and Life in the areas of social marketing and SBCC, amongst other approaches to generate demand for nutrition!!

For more on the topic of BCC, make sure to check out the inaugural Sight and Life Webinar series focused on the BCC process from the program manager’s point-of-view. The entire series can be watched here and the presentation slide decks are also available for download on our resources page here.