Food affordability speaks to the issue of food security, specifically for low-income households. In light of the 2012-2013 farm worker strikes and minimum wage debates in South Africa, BFAP extended its consumer focus to analyse the impact of different wage rates on household food security, specifically from a food affordability and nutritional vantage point. A team of qualified nutritionists were consulted to compile a series of balanced food plates. This was to serve as a starting point for calculating the cost of an individual’s ideal daily food intake. Three balanced food plate options were developed and evaluated against current wage levels. It was found that increased wages improved nutrition but that poor households (receiving minimum wage) still could not afford the ideal option in terms of dietary diversity and energy intake.
Figure above: Example of a ‘balanced daily food plate’ option providing above 10 000kJ applied in past BFAP analyses
Currently this area of research is being expanded in an attempt to incorporate some of the aspects, as discussed above, in the formal modelling structure. Furthermore the team is working on the improvement of the ‘balanced daily food plate’ concept to improve the measurement of food inflation on the welfare of South African consumers. It is envisaged that the various components of this focus area will ultimately enable researchers to analyse the impact of macro factors, such as economic and commodity price shocks, on household food security at a regional (within South Africa) level.