Did you know that, according to the Indigo Wellness Index, South Africa is one of the unhealthiest nations in the world? This means that we are eating the wrong foods and our health is suffering as a result.
Knorr wanted to find out what South Africans are (really) eating in order to help the country move towards a better food future. Their purpose is to reinvent food for humanity in three ways:
Knorr commissioned Nielsen – a global measurement and data analytics company – to implement the study Understanding the Eating Habits of the South African Population. The study included 1 005 respondents aged 16 years and older across South Africa.
The research objectives were multi-fold and included an understanding of the following:
- Composition of the plate across different meal occasions, demographics and regions
- Attitudes towards food and the link to health
- Impact and access to healthy food.
What are South Africans eating?
According to the study conducted by Nielsen, the current South African plate has a large proportion of meat and starch but is lacking in vegetables.
The plate consists of 41% starch, 26% meat, only 13% vegetables, and the rest being fats and oils, dairy and legumes. This is consistent across all regions and demographics. Even children living at home eat the same as their parents.
Breakfast generally has the largest proportion of starch, while dinner the largest amount of meat. Meat is eaten on average four times per week, with poultry and red meat being the most popular. Starch is eaten six times per week, with bread, rice, potatoes and Mielie pap the most prevalent. Vegetable consumption is also four times a week, with cheaper fruits and vegetables consumed the most.
82% of South Africans think that it has become easier to find healthy food within the past five years. But, only 52% think healthy food is affordable.
So, how do we fix the plate of the nation?
- 33% vegetables
- 32% starch
- 15% dairy
- 12% meat
- 8% fats and oils
By making small changes to our plate, we can help shape the health of the nation. Whilst it’s relevant to 58 million people, how each one of us changes our plate is personal, and this will have a positive ripple effect on our families and our communities.
As South Africans, we are fortunate that we have a rich history of food and agriculture. Crops rooted in heritage can once again have a place on our plate. Many of these nutritional crops were identified in Knorr and WWF’s Future 50 Foods report, and include millet, cowpeas, bambara groundnut and mung beans, amongst others.
Chrislynn Ramdeo from Knorr explains, “We need to change the plate of our nation because as Winston Churchill once said, ‘Healthy citizens are the greatest asset a country can have.’ Knorr is encouraging South Africans to choose to eat better by championing dietary diversity and more plant-based meals. Knorr wants to make healthy eating more accessible for all.”
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For more information on the Nielsen report, visit Knorr South Africa’s website here.