Ready-to-use foods for management of moderate acute malnutrition: Considerations for scaling up production and use in programs

Saskia Osendarp, Beatrice Rogers, Kelsey Ryan, Mark Manary, Peter Akomo, Paluku Bahwere, Hilina Belete, Mamane Zeilani, Munirul Islam, Filippo Dibari, Saskia De Pee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Ready-to-use foods are one of the available strategies for the treatment of moderate acute malnutrition (MAM), but challenges remain in the use of these products in programs at scale. This paper focuses on two challenges: the need for cheaper formulations using locally available ingredients that are processed in a safe, reliable, and financially sustainable local production facility; and the effective use of these products in large-scale communitybased programs. Linear programming tools can be used successfully to design local compositions that are in line with international guidelines, low in cost, and acceptable, and the efficacy of these local formulations in the treatment of MAM was recently demonstrated in Malawi. The production of local formulations for programs at scale relies on the existence of a reliable and efficient local production facility. Technical assistance may be required in the development of sustainable business models at an early stage in the process, taking into account the stringent product quality and safety criteria and the required investments. The use of ready-to-use products, as of any food supplement, in programs at scale will be affected by the practice of household sharing and diversion of these products for other uses. Additional measures can be considered to account for sharing. These products designed for the treatment and prevention of MAM are to be used in community-based programs and should therefore be used in conjunction with other interventions and designed so that they do not replace the intake of other foods and breastmilk. Remaining challenges and implications for the (operations) research agenda are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S59-S64
JournalFood and nutrition bulletin
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • Local formulation
  • Local production
  • Moderate acute malnutrition
  • Ready-to-use foods
  • Scale-up programs


Dive into the research topics of 'Ready-to-use foods for management of moderate acute malnutrition: Considerations for scaling up production and use in programs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this