Participants were divided into two groups. One group thought that it would be important to also focus on large cities, which undoubtedly presents lots of opportunities for interventions through development agencies, although it bears risks, too. Another group insisted on the significance of focusing on medium-sized towns (“market towns”) that might be better suited to test new approaches in.

The discussions suggested a focus on nutritious foods for urban and peri-urban production and markets such as dairy products, fish (from aquaculture), meat and poultry, pulses, fruits and vegetables – products that provide either essential proteins or micronutrients for their consumers. Apart from a few exceptions, these goods are much more perishable and are therefore ideal for being produced in proximity of (peri-) urban markets.

Here, changes in diet trends formed a further focal aspect of discussions. For example, in the context of the above mentioned trend that also people of urbanising areas in low and middle income countries dispose of less time for food preparation “healthy ready-to-eat foods” – pre-processed or cooked foods such as pre-cut vegetables and fruits, pre-cooked rice, cured and dairy products such as yoghurt, curd – might become a new and growing niche for a whole range of micro to big entrepreneurs in the context of nutrition awareness campaigns.

The energy issue mustn’t be ignored

Cooking time for inexpensive proteins such as pulses and less costly unprocessed food remains high.