Results from national surveys show that a quarter of pregnant women report going hungry daily and that 25% of households in South Africa currently live below the food poverty line.
Additionally, about 2.5 million young children live in households that can’t afford to cover their basic nutritional needs, which turn increases the risk of malnutrition and childhood stunting.
Food vulnerability in South Africa and resulting malnutrition is a national emergency. According to Unicef, already, a quarter of South Africa’s children under the age of five suffer from stunting, a condition that arises from prolonged undernutrition in the early years of life which affects a child’s long-term physical and brain development.
With the cost of food continuing to rise, poor households are paying more for less. People are forced to buy cheaper foods with poorer nutritional value at the expense of nutrient-dense foods, resulting in diets that are of low in nutritional quality, and unhealthily high in energy, sugars, salt and fats.
Feed the Nation, in consultation with the Pick n Pay in-house dietitian, have formulated a food hamper based on a variety of low-cost, nutrient-dense foods in an effort to combat food vulnerability in South Africa.
The hampers, which provide a family of four with a month of nutritionally complete meals, include energy and protein-rich foods, micronutrient-enriched cereals, legumes, oils as well as fresh vegetables and fruit, ensuring the minimum requirements for a child’s optimal growth and development.
The food hampers are distributed to vulnerable households across South Africa, including child-headed families.