Virtual Conference
Food Science 2023

Mary Mwale

Food Security Specialist, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development , Kenya

Title: Preference Ranking Of Selected Carbohydrate Energy Staples By Very Active Manual Workers In Nairobi, Kenya


In Kenya, “Ugali”, made from milled the whole sifted dry maize (Corn) flour, is the popular staple food consumed by nearly 80% of the population. The reliance on “Ugali” has posed a major problem socially, economically and politically. Ugali is perceived to have higher energy and satiety compared to most carbohydrate staple foods. A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted using 322 purposefully selected respondents. The aim was to determine the preference ranking of some commonly consumed carbohydrate energy staple foods by Very Active Manual Workers (VAMW) that require high energy in order to sustain their very active lifestyle. Three group categories selected: VAMW, moderately active Civil servants (CS) and University students (US) and structured questionnaires administered to respondents to indicate their top ranking and preferred staple among six commonly consumed carbohydrate energy staples- Ugali, rice, chapati, Irish potatoes, bananas, and an “others” category (foods such as Githeri (mixed maize and beans), cassava, spaghetti, noodles, Sweet potatoes, and bread among many alternatives); The foods were ranked from 1 to 6 according to the most preferred to the least preferred. 

Results indicated a higher preference for Ugali by all respondent groups. The mean rank for Ugali by VAMW was 1.134±0.492, followed by chapati 2.588±0.976, third was rice 3.27±1.242, fourth was Irish Potatoes 4.299±0.970, fifth bananas (matoke) 4.588±1.068, and sixth was “others” 5.165±1.296. US preference ranking for Ugali 1.628±1.067, rice 2.5±1.085, chapati 2.564±1.083, Irish potatoes 4.053±0.943, Bananas 4.394±0.918, and others 5.872±0.421; CS ranking for Ugali was 1.471±0.930, rice 2.608±1.101, chapati 3.09±1.264, bananas 4.029±1.173, Irish potatoes 4.51±0.972, and others 5.284±1.396. Combined groups mean was 1.41±0.064. Food preference ranking was very significantly different, P < 0.0001. Pairwise comparison of mean ranks indicated a significant difference between rank means of all groups except the ranking for rice versus chapati, and Irish potatoes versus bananas. The VAMW had a higher preference for Ugali compared to the moderately active groups. 


Dr. Mary Mwale is a food security and nutrition specialist working in the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development in the Republic of Kenya. Currently serving as the Head of the Food Security, she deals with matters related to National Food and Nutrition Security Policy formulation, and implementation. She is the current chairperson of the national food labelling committee driving the agenda of making Kenyans more informed and conscious of the food choices they make for their nutritional health.