Three ways Premise’s acquisition of Grupo Meiko benefits our international development partners

16 August 2022

by Chris Watson, Senior Director of International Development

Last week, we announced the acquisition of Grupo Meiko to expand Premise’s footprint in Latin America and add further depth to our on-the-ground data collection capabilities. Grupo Meiko is the most impressive retail measurement provider in the Latin American market, and we know we can quickly scale their syndicated data products to new countries using our platform. 

While the primary purpose of this acquisition is to satisfy unmet demand from commercial customers, there are significant benefits to our international development partners as well. 

1. Good sampling for pricing monitoring requires strong foundational data

As Premise Chief Strategy Officer Matt McNabb lays out in his blog post, one in three consumer transactions worldwide takes place in the smallest stores on earth—otherwise known as ‘traditional trade.’ In low and middle income countries, this percentage is much higher. As such, understanding the price or availability of staple goods, for example, means understanding their price and availability at traditional traders, including both mini-markets and open markets. 

To measure prices or availability of goods in traditional trade, you have to know: where are they and how many are there? Organizations like GRID3—a partner of ours—has done excellent work mapping markets in countries like Nigeria, but such location and attribute data is still largely unavailable or incomplete. Grupo Meiko has already mapped and is collecting data from over 200,000 traditional trader points of sale in Latin America every month. As we seek to scale their syndicated data offering to more countries, we will map many more of these retailers. Such data can help organizations like the World Bank Group or IADB more effectively measure prices, and in turn, estimate poverty. 

2. Traditional traders are an important touchpoint for international development programs

For the last two years, Premise has been working with a foundation that seeks to transform food systems to deliver more nutritious foods for all people, especially the most vulnerable. Through this process, I have seen firsthand the role Indonesian Warungs (traditional traders) can play, but often don’t, in providing access to healthy foods for school-aged children and adolescents. As more programs like this seek to incentivize the private sector to provide access to healthy and nutritious foods, the need for foundational data on traditional traders becomes more apparent. 

Similarly, cash assistance is one of the most effective ways for humanitarian organizations to help families fight hunger, malnutrition, and improve their food security. As more humanitarian programs move to cash and voucher-based approaches, the need for quality data on whether the private sector can support such an influx of demand becomes critical. In most countries, traditional traders bear the brunt of this requirement, yet little data on them exists. For example, traditional retailers in Ukraine have responded well to the war in their country, but will the next crisis be the same? Better data on food and product availability and pricing can answer this question. 

3. Premise’s biggest office is now in a country that receives development assistance

Bogotá, Colombia is now the site of Premise’s sixth office and our biggest by headcount. It’s hard to predict how this will change our company’s culture, but I can only imagine it will be for the better. It is my hope that adding 100 Colombian staff to our company will increase our collective understanding of the data requirements in emerging markets, the experience of our data contributors (Colombia is also one of our largest networks), and the impact our products have in the world. With the addition of Grupo Meiko, our company is becoming even more diverse, and I couldn’t be more excited.

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