Malnutrition has been a serious concern across the world which is caused due to lack of vital vitamins and minerals in the diet where in majority of the impoverished or poor people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. Tackling malnutrition has indeed been a challenge for the government, donors, and the private sector to give their attention to the developmental effectiveness and providing value for money.
Approx. 2 billion people across the globe suffer from anemia which caused due to iron deficiency and iodine deficiency which leads to mental retardation, results in being resistance to the disease, lowering the attention and concentration of children in class rooms, causes death of pregnant mothers, deaths due to diarrhea and million of people go blind each year.
As this problem of malnutrition takes away almost 3% of the country’s GDP, companies need to be very much careful of this fact which in turn affects the consumption pattern of the consumers. Companies like Coca-Cola and P&G have indeed put much efforts in making their food and beverages rich in vitamins and minerals but the issue in this regards is how firms target the market in terms of the availability of the product, its pricing strategies, the way of promoting and creating awareness among the masses and the convenience of the product.
Thus instead of only focusing upon the Product mix, just like Coke and P&G have dealt with the problem, the firms should target the other marketing mix elements as well to successfully market their goods. What additional efforts have been taken up by companies to solve this concern of malnutrition, How has the research and development team of the firms focused on their activities to overcome and fight the economic concern has been the questions in most of the organizations watch list.
Problems / Issues: Coca-Cola introduced the product named Vitango, which was a powdered drink to be mixed with water and to be consumed as a beverage, the issue was that research did show that there was a huge improvements in certain places where it was introduced but in certain places due to the impurities in the water, it nullified the efforts of the powdered vitango. The firm encountered trouble because of lack of focus in the initial stages of the new product development which it at a later stage went about packaging a ready-to-drink formula for its consumers.
P&G also came out with their own production of Nutridelight which had an element of vitamin A, iron contents and Growth Plus was the main ingredient. But unfortunately it did not sell well in the market as the prices were non – competitive and it did not meet the present market – going rate of the product’s price. It later came with Nutristar which performed good in the market but it would target only the premium group customers as the product was available at only McDonald’s outlet, and in major instances it is the segment of the poor which actually require the product.
Thus again P&G had lack of focus in their strategic implementations. In both the cases mentioned above, the firms lacked focus of their marketing mix factors in terms of the product, price, place or promotional strategies. Analysis: Based on the research carried, both over nourished and under nourished leads to malnutrition and hence poverty and lack of food has been an issue under consideration in certain countries which has symptoms of anemia, diarrhea, disorientation, goiter, lack of coordination and loss of reflexes, scaling and cracking of lips and mouth are terrible consequences faced by the people.
Companies need to provide fortified foods which have the opportunity of adding value and providing economies of scale by lowering upon the prices, developing quality products to enhance trade and competition and reaching out to newer customers that have not been targeted, there by combating the problem of malnutrition of a huge segment of those suffering. Thus malnutrition is a vicious cycle where in an under-nourished or over-nourished person suffers from various diseases and infections which in turn increases the requirement of energy into the body which needs to be fulfilled.
If this demand s not fulfilled it results in malnutrition which further reduces and diminishes the immunity level of the children and elders as well making them more prone to such infections. Recommendations / Solutions to the Problem: To improve the nutritional levels of food, the prior concern should be to increase the income levels where by the quality and the quantitative food intake can be increased. Firms need to focus on consider the following aspects in the formulation of a strategic development in order to combat malnutrition and the poverty line.
Companies need to focus upon: ?Creating awareness among the public on nutritional and health issues: This will help the local poor people to understand the value of health and the benefits of having balanced food habits. ?Increase the income levels there by improving the standard of living: If the purchasing power parity of consumers is increased, the consumption level will also increase leading to adoption of the best food eating methods.
?Improve the nutritional and the health status of the society at large, ?Focus on the rural marketing and distribution methods: rural marketing needs focus especially to instill the seriousness of the deaths and weaknesses which result through malnutrition. Making the product available to them at a reasonable price and at their convenient places will create positive sense of belongingness in the minds of the users.
?Organize and develop market surveys to study the general trend of the consumers: Study the market and understand the changing food habits there by promoting the strategies in the manner which clears the issues of resisting and fighting the problem of malnutrition. ?Train the volunteers and create awareness among the rural sectors, ?Setting up production and marketing units to cater to the goals and objectives set by companies there by improvising on the nutrition status of the target village or market taken into consideration.
Conclusion: Fighting Malnutrition has been a concern and a serious issue for all the firms whose main objective has been to develop products which are higher in nutrient level with nutritional supplements. The prior focus should be on whether the food or the beverage should be used as a supplement or as a substitute which in turn will help in strategizing the business processes in a manner which suits the target markets requirements and needs.
References: Capart. (2008). Promotion of community initiatives to combat malnutrition and provide income generation in the backward regions of India. Retrieved October 3, 2008, from Website: http://209. 85. 175. 104/search? q=cache:PWnXLkls_2sJ:capart. nic. in/scheme/projectm. pdf+marketing+:+malnutrition&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=3&gl=in Michael, J. (2007). Fighting Poverty with Markets, Marketing to the malnourished. Retrieved October 3, 2008, from Foreign Policy Website: http://blog. foreignpolicy. com/node/3712