Let’s close the food gap

Find out how YOU can support this campaign at home

We call on businesses and government to make nutritious food more affordable

The right to sufficient food is enshrined in South Africa’s Constitution, which also guarantees children the right to basic nutrition. Although we live in a country that produces enough food, high levels of poverty and inequality coupled with the rising cost of food mean far too many people are experiencing hunger and suffering the consequences of child malnutrition.

Social protection mechanisms like the Child Support Grant (CSG) are not benefitting all who are eligible to receive the cash transfers. An estimated 2.2 million children are not receiving the grant because of administrative barriers and lack of documentation. The monthly grant is also less than the amount it costs to meet a person’s minimum required energy needs, known as the Food Poverty Line. In addition, the retail price of staple items, like maize meal porridge, have outpaced the growth of the national minimum wage.

The result is that one in five households doesn’t have enough food on the table, 30 children are dying daily from malnutrition-related causes and a quarter of children under the age of five years are stunted.

We need to act now! This is why DGMT and Grow Great are championing the proposed double-discounting of 10 budget-friendly food items. These foods were chosen because they could provide high nutritional value at the lowest cost, especially for families living below the Food Poverty Line.

What is the double-discounted proposal?

We want food manufacturers and retailers to waive the mark-ups of at least one product label of each of these 10 items. And we want government to support this by agreeing to provide a rebate to retailers and manufacturers, matching the value of their discount on these 10 foods. If this proposal is accepted and implemented, these foods will be at least 30% cheaper.

Government, business and civil society would work together to bring down food prices in the following way:

Manufacturers and retailers agree to forego their profits on one product label of the 10 food items.
Government agrees to provide a subsidy to retailers and manufacturers matching the value of their discount on the 10 items.
Civil society promotes the 10 budget-friendly food items to help shape consumer behaviour towards the most affordable nutritious foods.

How were the 10 budget-friendly food items chosen?

These items are eggs, dried beans and lentils, tinned fish, fortified maize meal, peanut butter, rice, amasi, soya mince, 4-in-1 soup mix, and powdered full cream milk – many are already staple pantry items in South African households.

Most have a long shelf-life and are consumed by low-income communities, except for eggs which are consumed across income groups. Eggs are a source of protein and iron critical for child growth, so it was important to include this food item on the list.

Of course, children need other things too like fresh fruit and vegetables, so this is not a complete answer to the problem of food affordability, but it would increase parents’ buying power and encourage them to buy protein-rich foods.

Child malnutrition must be a national priority

In 2023, we took the double-discounting proposal to government, retailers and manufactures along with a national public communications campaign to raise awareness about child malnutrition. We put up billboards across the country to make it the number one issue for politicians contesting the 2024 general elections. We also used the billboards to demonstrate the link between child malnutrition, learning outcomes at school and economic growth.

Children need nutritious food for their bodies and minds to grow and develop, especially in the first 1 000 days of life when their brains are developing faster than ever.

Children who do not get the food they need to grow well may end up stunted, which means they are too short for their age and their brain development may be affected. Stunted children are more likely to drop out of school, struggle to find employment and live in poverty as adults.

Here’s how YOU can support this campaign

Become an advocate!

You can become an advocate for the double-discounting of the 10 budget-friendly food items. Read our brochure about the double-discounting proposal.

Spread the word!

You can also do your part by raising awareness about the 10 budget-friendly food items so that more people know about them and can prepare nutritious meals at home.

You can learn more by sending a WhatsApp message to 060 073 3333. You will find information and recipes when you contact Grow Great on WhatsApp.

And finally, if you want to see how these 10 budget-friendly foods form part of a diverse diet and can be made into delicious recipes for the whole family, please download and share the images below on social media with your friends, family and networks.

Download and share the GIFs on social media using the hashtag #LetsCloseTheFoodGap.

Individual GIFs can be downloaded using the buttons below (sizes ranging from 10-17 meg), or you can download the entire folder (approx. 92 meg).