Higher food costs feed ‘hidden hunger’ of poor dietary diversity
Steep food price increases see lower-income households reduce the food groups they eat, write Zaneta Kubik and Julian May
Belt tightening has become common practice for South African consumers who have, again, been accosted with steep food price increases. The situation is grim for homes but a bigger threat of food insecurity is lurking in the shadows. When responding to food price increases, households adjust their consumption patterns in a number of ways by scrimping and saving. They decrease caloric intake at each meal, cut the number of meals per day, decrease the diversity of foods they consume, or substitute with less preferred foods. These temporary disruptions in access resulting from food inflation can result in nutritional damage, especially among infants and children. Although SA is considered food secure at the national level, there is substantial food insecurity at the household level. More than half of South African households experience some form of food insecurity, and one quarter of SA’s children have experienced severe malnutrition. One of the biggest challenges for South African food...