South Africans love their meat. Fact. According to Knorr’s Plate of the Nation study, 90% of South Africans are now full-blown carnivores, rising from 84% in 2020. And while food prices may be rising, 46% still eat meat on a daily basis, showing a decline in people substituting beans for meat.
Knorr released these and others findings from its latest research on the eating habits of Mzansi. The study was compiled by market measurement firm NielsenIQ.
The annual Plate of the Nation study is a Knorr-led initiative to help South Africans move towards a better food future.
The food giant provides rare insights in what the nation is eating and how it impacts the country’s health.
Unilever South Africa marketing director Vuyo Henda says, “We want people to know that they can make an impact by simply changing what they eat, and it starts with what’s on their plate.
“Food businesses have a huge responsibility to educate the masses about eating better for a balanced plate.
“We are far from the ideal plate as vegetable composition should be 33% of the plate. We are at 14%. With small changes to our plates, we can collectively move towards reaching the ideal plate composition.”
Pandemic and food choices
Furthermore, the decline in household income due to Covid-19’s effect on businesses has left many consumers in a financial fix. This created an environment where people were eating whatever they could afford, found Knorr.
While healthy foods were more accessible, it was also considered to be more expensive. Changing the way we eat should be done in increments, argues Mpoomy Ledwaba, an influencer and Eativist who believes food can be a force for good.
She says, “When I began my journey to eat better, I abruptly became a vegan, which resulted in my body taking a knock. I know better now, and it’s about making small changes like adding more veg like legumes to my plate that help the body to adapt to eating better.”
Necessity trumps luxury
In a media release, Knorr also explains that its Plate of the Nation study provides a view on the improvement of people’s accessibility, attitude, and behaviour towards food.
According to the NielsenIQ report, with the ongoing declines in household income, and being financially worse off due to Covid-19, South African consumers’ current ability to spend is much lower (66%) than the global average (48%). As such, people consider healthy food to be accessible, but rather expensive.
The study found that more South Africans were also giving up luxuries to focus on buying necessities during amid the pandemic.
The study also found that:
- South Africans eat an average of two meals per day and there was a general decline in breakfast consumption;
- in South Africa, there is decrease in meal occasions. On weekdays, only 64% eat breakfast, 71% have lunch and 83% have dinner. On weekends, 49% have breakfast, 59% have lunch and only 66% have dinner;
- at 46%, breakfast remains the most carbohydrate heavy meal of the day with the least fruit and vegetables (4%), while lunch (48%) and dinner (68%) have meat as more of a focus; and
- at 14%, South Africa’s health status of non-communicable food related diseases remains consistent from the previous year. This, while 82% claim they are not suffering from any non-communicable diseases. Wikipedia says non-communicable diseases include Parkinson’s disease, autoimmune diseases, strokes, most heart diseases, most cancers, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, cataracts, and others.