Research methodologies, both qualitative and quantitative, are needed to address the gaps in evidence about changes in the shelves, baskets, and plates of the food system

Shelves, Baskets and Plates (PLATES)

This programme investigates the dietary intake of poor and vulnerable South Africans, tracking the trends, drivers and trajectories of this intake. It examines the differing contexts within which food is consumed and details the food environments that shape food preferences and choices. Working with the CoE programmes in SYSTEMS, CHILDREN and POLITICS, as well as with the SARChI in Social Protection for Food Security, the Programme explores how poor people understand and make sense of their changing conditions in terms of their access and utilisation of food. The Programme will also identify and evaluate the strategies employed by the poor and vulnerable to survive and thrive while also seeking to meet their food and nutrition requirements.

The research questions that will be explored through this programme are:

  1. What foods are poor South Africans regularly consuming, their preparation and composition and distribution within a household and what factors determine this?

  2. What foods are poor South Africans choosing regularly to acquire, where do they choose to acquire these foods and what key factors shape their choices?

  3. What is the range, quality and cost of foods stocked in the retail outlets most used by poor consumers (supermarkets, spaza’s, vendors and fast food outlets) and where are they located?

  4. How do poor South Africans respond to these pressures? What are the factors that enable their social agency in dealing with these factors?

Professor Rina Swart

Related Articles & publications
Trade, food and nutrition security in South Africa: The cases of sugar...

The purpose of this paper is to consider the role that trade plays in food and nutrition security in South Africa. Despite an established commercial food system, South Africans experience high levels of food and nutrition insecurity – both under-nutrition and ...

At the bottom of the food chain: Small operations versus multinational corporations...

This report examines how the food systems in South Africa, Brazil and Mexico are dominated by a small group of MNCs of both foreign and national origin that play a significant role in agricultural inputs and production, processing and manufacturing ...

Development of an Interdisciplinary School-Based Intervention to Address Food and Nutrition- Related...

Ferreira, R., Botha, K., Fraser, W., du Toit P.J., 2016. Development of an Interdisciplinary School-Based Intervention to Address Food and Nutrition- Related Needs in Poor Communities in South Africa. In: Negatu, W. and Musahara, H. eds. Innovations in Achieving Sustainable ...

Principal Investigators

Professor Rina Swart

UWC's Professor Rina Swart is a registered dietician as well as a registered nutritionist with the HPCSA. Her research focuses...

Social Protection for Food Security

One in five children display stunted growth. Yet since South Africa's democratic transition in 1994, social protection programmes have increased dramatically.

Food Politics and Cultures: Humanities Approaches to Food

The POLITICS Programme explores human relationships to food, the power dynamics around food production and access and the meanings that food acquires in particular cultural and social contexts.

The Symbolic Construction of Food Consumption in the Context of Food Insecurity

The consumption of food is situated within the social construction of reality. Cultural and religious symbols inevitably construct and distort the ways in which food is selected, prepared and consumed.

Food Governance and Policy Reform

The POLICY programme facilitates dialogue between researchers, the community and policy makers to inform policy making and shape research.

Persistence of Child Malnutrition in South Africa

The CHILDREN programme examines trends, determinants and consequences of food insecurity for mothers and children in South Africa

Food safety hazards that affect food security and how these can be...

If food is not handled, stored, distributed and prepared correctly, it can become contaminated and no longer be fit for human consumption.

Innovation and Technology for Enterprise Development

Organisational and technological innovations of food systems can help maintain and improve livelihoods through enterprise development for food security.

Understanding the National and Global Food System

The SYSTEMS programme is concerned with the structure, dynamics and influences on the South African food system and how this is changing.