The Importance of Animal Source Foods for Nutrient Sufficiency in the Developing World: The Zambia Scenario

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There have been successful interventions fortifying staple foods to mobilize micronutrients as well as agricultural efforts to raise yields of staple foods to increase food availability. Zambia serves as an interesting case study because since 1961 there has been a notable decline in the availability of animal source foods (ASFs) and pulses and a significant increase in the supply of cassava and vegetable oils. The shift in food availability was partly attributed to the agricultural success in high-yielding and drought-resistant varieties that made cassava and oil crops more affordable and readily available. In this research, we explore another policy strategy that involves ASF as a mechanism to help remedy micronutrient inadequacies in a population. A scenario modeling analysis compares the changes in the nutrient profile of the Zambian diet through adding either staple plant source foods (PSFs) or ASFs. The scenarios under study involve the addition of (1) 18 fl oz of whole cow's milk; (2) 60 g of beef, 30 g of chicken, and 5 g of beef liver; (3) milk plus meat; or (4) 83 g of maize flour, 123 g of cassava, and other staple PSF, that is, isocaloric to the "milk + meat" group. The findings alert program planners and policy makers to the value of increasing the availability, accessibility, and utilization of ASF to simultaneously address multiple nutrient deficiencies, as well as the nutrition challenges that remain when expanding the availability of plant-based staples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-316
Number of pages14
JournalFood and nutrition bulletin
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • animal source foods
  • food insecurity
  • hunger
  • low-income country
  • micronutrient malnutrition
  • plant source foods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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