Super Bebe, a pioneering brand of micro-nutrient powder (MNP) launched by Population Services International (PSI) in Mozambique, is using an innovative social marketing approach informed by ethnographic research conducted by Added Value to combat malnutrition in that country.
Mozambique is among the countries with the highest rates of malnutrition in the world; 43% for children under five despite the fact that gross domestic product has grown by over 7% for the past five years. (Source: Demographic Health Survey).
Efforts to reduce rates of malnutrition began in 2010 through collaboration between Mozambique’s Ministry of Health (MISAU), the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition and other stakeholders in the health community.
The process was stepped-up in 2012 by Population Services International (PSI), a leader and innovator in the use of social marketing to improve the health of poor and vulnerable people.
Given that fortification of food with supplements was almost non-existent in Mozambique, PSI asked its marketing strategy partner, Added Value, to go in-market to gain a better understanding of mother’s attitudes and behaviours with regard to food preparation /consumption.
“The goal of the research was to understand the potential barriers to the use of a micronutrient powder and to translate these into a strategy for food fortification,” said Added Value’s Executive Vice President Branding and Sustainable Innovation, Leslie Pascaud.
“PSI needed to know if moms understood the problem; did they see the need for higher nutrient food for their babies; would convenience be the biggest issue or would it be cost; and what insights could open the door to product/brand acceptance.”
The brand development and marketing insight consultancy trained and supervised local researchers to conduct 24 in-home ethnographic interviews with subsistence moms of young children to uncover the barriers and triggers that drive behaviour around food and drink.
It then ran a 3-day interactive workshop with PSI and NGO/government partners to develop strategy and positioning for the new brand launches and to ideate on new product formats.
“The result was a small sachet of powder designed for easy mixing into a baby’s morning porridge. Named Super Bebe and promising to help make babies ‘stronger for life’, it tapped into a fundamental insight expressed by moms,” added Added Value South Africa Project Director, Camilla Fanning.
“Super Bebe went on sale in Mozambique three months ago and has already reached at least 10 000 children with nutrient deficiencies. A communications campaign that integrates public health messages about nutrition commenced at the same time that the product went on sale. Long-term plans for the product include extending into other sales outlets and free distribution through an innovative voucher-system,” she said.
The ethnographic research also provided PSI with a foundation on which to build marketing and innovation strategies for water purity. As a result of this work, PSI also relaunched the Certeza water purifying brand in a more appealing way to mothers with the help of Gabriel Junior, a well known presenter, who agreed to go on air for the first time to promote a brand.