The social marketing of micronutrient supplements, pioneered by Population Services International (PSI) in seven developing countries, is preventing anemia in women of reproductive age and averting maternal deaths due to lack of iron. In 2002, PSI sold 16.3 million micronutrient supplements.
PSI has assessed micronutrient supplement markets in all regions of the world with consistent findings: Although shelves are crowded with vitamin products, they are high-priced and typically containing so little iron that they are useless in addressing iron deficiency. Most are not packaged attractively or promoted actively, nor is any effort made to target low-income groups. In every country where PSI has conducted market research, there is a clear unfilled niche for micronutrient supplements affordable to low-income people.
At the time of this report, PSI was marketing supplements for women of reproductive age in Bolivia, India, Pakistan, Paraguay, Togo, Venezuela and Zambia, and iron folate tablets in India.