Drivers of demand for animal-source foods in low-income informal settlements in Nairobi, Kenya




Malnutrition is a persisting problem in sub-Saharan Africa. Animal-source foods (ASFs) are high-quality nutrient-dense products that constitute an essential part of diverse diets. However, our previous research in Nairobi, Kenya, highlighted that the children living in informal settlements households had low nutrient intake and very low level of consumption of ASFs. Only 75% of children aged between 1-3 years had milk on the previous day, around 11% had fish, and less than 11% had any meat. We also found that price was an important barrier to ASF consumption, but there was also other factors playing in the choice of ASF. These findings highlighted the need for in-depth research to provide good understanding of the drivers of ASF consumption by the poorest.  

This research aims to investigate the demand and supply side factors of ASF purchase and consumption to understand the source of variability in ASFs intake between and within households living in Nairobi informal settlements. To do so, we propose a mixed methods research, using longitudinal data from poor households, combined with a market survey of retailers available to these households and complemented by focus group discussion and key informant interviews. We estimate spouses’ bargaining power using experimental economic games in order to investigate its role on purchase and intra-household allocation of animal source food. We will use the cultural domain analysis tool, combined with the qualitative research to assess what drivers the differences between ideal meals and realities. Results will inform the design of sustainable food systems interventions, aimed at increasing ASF availability and consumption by low-income households.


Lead Institution

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Collaborating Institutions


International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI); University of Nairobi (UoN)



Principal Investigator(s)


> Paula Dominguez-Salas, PhD, Assistant Professor at LSHTM / ILRI/ Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH)

> Aurelia Lepine, PhD, Assistant Professor in Health Economics, LSHTM




> Suneetha Kadiyala, Associate Professor in Nutrition-Sensitive Development, LSHTM/LCIRAH


> Salome Bukachi, PhD, Senior Lecturer/Research Fellow, Institute of Anthropology, Gender and African Studies, University of Nairobi