Knowledge gaps about micronutrient deficiencies in Tanzania and the effect of information interventions

There were knowledge gaps about the severity of deficiencies and biofortified foods.Reducing micronutrient malnutrition (“hidden hunger”) in low-income countries is a global challenge, particularly among women, children, and high-poverty households. Countries like Tanzania have developed diverse strategies to combat malnutrition, including the biofortification of staple foods. However, broad awareness and knowledge of micronutrient deficiencies and beneficial foods are needed for these strategies to be effective. The objectives of this study were to (i) examine Tanzanian consumers' initial awareness and knowledge of deficiencies for four micronutrients and associated biofortified foods, and (ii) to examine the effectiveness of targeted communication approaches (i.e., information and branding) to improve knowledge. Data were collected from 1029 respondents in Tanzania using an online survey. Respondents were randomly assigned to treatments across two experiments in the survey. One experiment examined the effect of information about susceptibility and severity of micronutrient deficiencies and foods that reduce the risk of deficiency, and the other experiment examined the impact of ‘branding’ biofortified foods. The combination of providing information and branded biofortified crops most effectively reduced knowledge gaps about negative health outcomes and risk-reducing foods. Results suggest a need for evidence-based interventions that provide broad nutrition education and financial assistance for purchasing food. Highlights • Knowledge gaps were identified for deficiency in iron, vitamin A, and zinc. • Information interventions were used to identify knowledge gaps. • No information was provided for iodine to determine internal validity of results. • The at-risk subpopulation, women of reproductive age, were oversampled. • There were knowledge gaps about the severity of deficiencies and biofortified foods.
This article was originally published in Global Food Security. The version of record is available at: © 2024 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license ( This research was featured in UDaily on 03/29/2024, available at:
behavioral change, biofortified crops, hidden crops, hidden hunger, nutrition education, zero hunger
Kilasy, Pius, Brandon R. McFadden, Kelly A. Davidson, and Leah H. Palm-Forster. “Knowledge Gaps about Micronutrient Deficiencies in Tanzania and the Effect of Information Interventions.” Global Food Security 40 (March 2024): 100745.