Novel Foods and Sustainability as Means to Counteract Malnutrition in Madagascar

Molecules. 2021 Apr 8;26(8):2142. doi: 10.3390/molecules26082142.


Although the trends of international reports show an increase in overweight and obesity, even in developing countries, there are still areas of the world, such as Sub-Saharan Africa, strongly affected by undernutrition. Specifically, in Madagascar, the percentage of stunted children under 5 is extremely high. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to increase the risk of all forms of malnutrition, especially in low-income countries, including Madagascar, with serious intergenerational repercussions. This narrative review aims at investigating eating habits and cooking methods of the Malagasy population, addressing sustainable healthy diets through promotion of novel foods. While novel foods are a recent concept, there are data that describe how they may contribute to counteract food insecurity and malnutrition considering context and place. Efforts to promote native, traditional foods as Moringa oleifera, an indigenous plant in Asia and Africa including Madagascar, rich in protein and micronutrients, as well as edible insects, alternative sustainable source of protein, lipids, iron, and zinc, would provide not only nutritional but also cultural and economic benefits. The potential synergies between food traditions and agroecology have the potential to impact health addressing larger issues of sustainability and food security. Regional, national, and international policies are needed to develop and support one health approach actions.

Keywords: Madagascar; Moringa; insects; malnutrition; novel food; sustainable approach.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cooking
  • Diet*
  • Edible Insects
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Humans
  • Madagascar / epidemiology
  • Malnutrition / epidemiology
  • Malnutrition / pathology*
  • Micronutrients / administration & dosage
  • Moringa / chemistry
  • Moringa / metabolism


  • Micronutrients