Township Economy in 2020 Series #3: Do Food Hampers Advance or Undermine Sustainable Diets?
Transitioning towards sustainable diets is imperative to avoiding the worst effects of climate change, environmental degradation and malnutrition. Madeleine Coste, a Food Policy MSc student at City, University of London, had the opportunity to contribute to the SHEFS project by exploring the potential of food hampers for advancing sustainable diets in South Africa. She conducted research in Cape Town with the assistance of the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation in June 2018. She found that bulk shopping ‘hamper’ combos at month-end is an important strategy adopted by low-income households to put food on the table. These combos are frequently made up of high-calorie foods with low nutritional value and have a high environmental impact, but are mediated through the lenses of price and brand loyalty. It is only by paying careful attention to variables including price, convenience and brand loyalty that we can hope to improve households’ access to food and improve their access to high quality sustainable foods.