Factors influencing milk consumption in kenya; case of Thika town
Mwongera, Richard Kirimi
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The purpose of this study was to find out the factors influencing milk consumption in Kenya, case of Thika town. Kenya has one of the largest dairy industries in sub-Saharan Africa. Up to 1992 the dairy industry in Kenya was under government control, which gave policy guidelines, set prices, determined the players in the industry and set market rules among other things. After liberalization in 1992, the industry is regulated by the Kenya Dairy Board. Processing and marketing of milk are important levels of dairy development and growth of the industry. There is good market opportunity for different milk products due to expanding population and improved income in the rural urban trading centers. In order to improve smallholder dairy production, processing must accompany production to produce a variety of products to meet market opportunities. Further, milk is highly perishable thus there is need to process into products that have longer shelf life, easier to handle and transport to long distance market outlets. Declining milk consumption is a potential public health problem because milk provides nutrients that are not abundant in other foods. Identification of the factors that may influence milk consumption may lead to development of interventions to promote more healthful behaviour. Attitudes and beliefs about food appear to be strong predictors of dietary behaviour. The objective of this study was to survey a random sample of consumers in regard to their milk consumption. The specific objectives included influence of price, tastes and preferences and promotion of milk in milk consumption. The study was considered important to various stakeholders including the dairy industry, the government and other researchers. The research adopted a descriptive research design and the population size of71,051 households that included high income, middle income and low income residents of Thika town. A sample of 122 households was randomly picked for the study due to the relative size of the population thus the study had 0.1 % coverage of the population. Data was collected by use of questionnaire method which had both closed and open ended questions. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics including frequency distribution tables and histograms. The expected outcome was to determine the factors influencing the attitude towards milk consumption by the urban population in Kenya. This was to shed more light on the topic of the study. The study results showed that nutrition and health attributes had the highest influence for consumers of milk. Promotion was found not to have much influence. Price though important was found not to influence consumption while in comparison to other factors like availability. It was found different Income groups had differing influence of several attributes in make decisions on milk consumption. The study shows that majority of the people buy raw milk at 62% than those buying pasteurized milk. A interesting finding was that tea is the major used beverage at 79% compared to milk at 12%. However most of the tea is prepared with milk. The study concludes that the most influencing factor on milk consumption is nutrition and health. The researcher recommends for further research on factors influencing tea consumption which complement milk consumption for milk is used in making tea.