Thai Union and WFP Launch School Meals Impact Study in Kenya

5 SEPT 2017, BANGKOK—The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) with support from Thai Union Group PCL has launched a study to model the impact of a planned universal national school meals program on the economy in Kenya.

In 2009, the Kenyan Government started a national home-grown school meals program that   provides school lunches to 1 million children. Another 600,000 children are fed by WFP’s school meals program. WFP is gradually transitioning pupils from its direct support to the Government’s Home-Grown School Meals program, scheduled for completion by the end of 2018.

Through the Home-Grown School Meals initiative, schools buy food from local markets, resulting in a direct economic benefit to farmers and traders, as well as to service providers such as transporters and suppliers of farm inputs.

In 2016, WFP introduced fresh foods in school meals in Nairobi. This new need has generated additional income for families involved in producing and selling fresh farm produce.

Schools and institutions buying from local farmers increase cash flow and create more opportunities for local area employment. The Local Economy-Wide Impact Evaluation (LEWIE) method which was developed by the University of California Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics Department, will gather evidence and quantify the economic impact of the Home-Grown School Meals program.

The study which will be done in collaboration with University of California will help demonstrate the potential impact on the local and national economy, if Kenya had a national program providing a daily lunch to all 8.9 million school children. Using data from schools, traders, businesses, farmers and households, it will be possible to estimate the returns generated by every dollar invested in a national school meals program, based on the procurement of local food products.

The lessons learned from this project could show an ability to dramatically improve the nutrition of schoolchildren while concurrently boosting local economies with one single policy. Additionally, demonstrable successes could pave the way for the potential application of similar initiatives on a global level in both developed and developing nations.

Thai Union’s support of WFP and the Home-Grown School Meals program in Kenya is in line with the company’s sustainability strategy, SeaChange®. Thai Union, a member of the UN Global Compact, is also working to deliver against the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through SeaChange®, including SDGs Zero Hunger and Decent Work and Economic Growth.

“Collaboration with actors in the private sector committed to social responsibility is critical to achieving zero hunger,” said Ms. Annalisa Conte, WFP’s country director and representative. “WFP Kenya greatly appreciates Thai Union’s support to this project which will shed light on how a national school meals program that actively engages local farmers and businesses can contribute to improved livelihoods for the people of Kenya. We look forward to working together and sharing our findings as we move forward.”

“When nourishment for schoolchildren can be improved while boosting local economies, that is something worth supporting,” said Dr. Darian McBain, Thai Union’s global director for sustainable development. “Thai Union aims to contribute to broader societal change in areas where we can have direct influence, and the company is proud to work WFP in this pursuit.”

The study is being conducted by UC Davis University of California between July this year and December 2019. The results will inform the Kenyan Government regarding its plan universally to give lunch to all schoolchildren.

To read more about Thai Union’s sustainability strategy, visit http://upmedio.wpengine.com.

Photo (above): A study modeling the impact of a planned universal national school meals program on Kenya’s economy was recently launched by the UN World Food Programme with the support of Thai Union. Credit: WFP/Rein Skullerud


Thai Union Group PCL is the world’s seafood leader bringing high quality, healthy, tasty and innovative seafood products to customers across the world for almost 40 years.

Today, Thai Union is regarded as the world’s largest producer of shelf-stable tuna products with annual sales exceeding THB 125 billion (US$ 3.7 billion) and a global workforce of over 46,000 people who are dedicated to pioneering sustainable, innovative seafood products.

The company’s global brand portfolio includes market-leading international brands such as Chicken of the Sea, John West, Petit Navire, Parmentier, Mareblu, King Oscar, and Rügen Fisch and Thai-leading brands SEALECT, Fisho, Bellotta and Marvo.

As a company committed to innovation and globally responsible behavior, Thai Union is proud to be a member of the United Nations Global Compact, and a founding member of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF). In 2015, Thai Union introduced its SeaChange® sustainability strategy. Thai Union’s on-going work on sustainability issues was recognized by its inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index Emerging Markets (DJSI) in 2014. In 2016, Thai Union was named to the DJSI for the third consecutive year, as well as included in the FTSE4Good Emerging Index.


Christopher Hughes
M: +66.625.941.089
E: Christopher.Hughes@thaiunion.com