plate of the nation

Plate of the Nation – Knorr release shocking SA stats

I recently attended the Plate of the Nation Knorr event, held at Victoria yards. Victoria Yards presents a uniquely integrated urban complex that is as much about social development as it is commercial enterprise. The venue was thus the perfect location to release the shocking stats behind this campaign with South Africa.

Fab morning with some of my fav foodies

I enjoyed a fabulous morning spent in great company. Delicious plant-based foods and drinks, while I caught up with some of my favourite foodies set the tone for the event. We were exceptionally excited to find out what the study said about South Africans’ eating habits

The report from Knorr exposes the eating habits of the South African population and the impact on our health. These reports confirm that South Africa is one of the unhealthiest nations in the world. Meaning that we are eating the wrong foods and negatively impacting our health. The shocking stats were really not a surprise. We know that South Africans love their meat and their carbs.

Knorr’s commitment

Knorr’s commitment to helping South Africans move towards a better food future is evident. They provided stakeholders like government, NGO’s, industry, retailers, media and consumers with information about how and what we are eating. The main focus being how what we eat impacts our health.

The conversation focused heavily on South African’s making the move to living a more plant-based lifestyle. I was unsure as to Knorr’s role in the Plate of the Nation campaign. Chrislynn Ramdeo, Marketing Manager at Unilever explains that Knorr’s purpose is to reinvent food for humanity. It’s about adding flavour and encouraging a more plant-based approach to food.

Team Knorr with Chrislynn Ramdeo positioned on the far right

In line with this purpose and coupled with helping consumers make better food choices, Knorr commissioned Nielsen. Nielsen is a global measurement and data analytics company. They were used to implement a study on Understanding the Eating Habits of the South African Population. In February 2020, 1005 respondents aged 16 years and over across South Africa made up the data source for this study.

The research objectives were multi-fold and included an understanding of the following:

  • Composition of the plate across different meal occasions, demographics and regions.
  • Attitudes towards food and the link to health.
  • Impact and access to healthy food.

So, what exactly is on our plate?

The current South African plate has a large proportion of meat and starch but is seriously lacking in vegetables.

SA plates consists of 41% starch, 26% meat, 13% vegetables and the rest composed of fats, oils, dairy and legumes. This is consistent across all regions and demographics. Kids living at home eat the same as their parents.

  • Breakfast generally has the largest proportion of starch, while dinner the largest amount of meat.
  • Meat is eaten on average of 4 times per week, with poultry and red meat being the most popular.
  • Starch is eaten 6 times a week, with bread, rice, potatoes and mielie pap the most prevalent.
  • Vegetable consumption is also 4 times a week, with cheaper fruits and vegetables consumed the most.

About you

  • 82% of you think that it has become easier to find healthy food within the past 5 years.
  • Only 52% think healthy food is affordable.
  • 84% of South Africans are meat eaters
  • 14% are flexitarians
  • 2% are vegetarians
  • 0,3% are pescatarians
  • 0,1% are vegans.

How do we fix the plate of the nation?

Eatwell plate composition as defined by the University of Cambridge and the NHS says that our plates should comprise of :-

  • 33% vegetables
  • 32% starch
  • 15% dairy
  • 12% meat
  • 8% fats and oils.

By making small changes to our plate, we can help shape the health of the nation. Whilst it’s relevant to 58 million people, how each one of us changes our plate is personal. This will have a positive ripple effect on our families and our communities. It all starts with small delicious changes.

We are fortunate that we have a rich history of food and agriculture, we can learn from how our forefathers ate. Crops rooted in heritage can once again have a place on our plate. Many of these nutritional crops are identified in Knorr and WWF’s Future 50 Foods report. They include millet, cowpeas, bambara groundnut and mung beans, amongst others.

Amazed by how many Future 50 Foods I haven’t heard of, I’m proud to say we eat 28 of the future 50 foods on a regular basis.

The commitment

For flavourful recipes for all diets, occasions, product information you can subscribe to There will be a roll out of awesome campaigns and initiative to encourage South Africans to change their eating habits.

Knorr’s purpose is to champion better ways to cook and eat for a more sustainable food future. They believe that by sourcing ingredients sustainably, food made with Knorr tastes better. That’s why Knorr grows its ingredients naturally under the sun, in rich, fertile soils and with care for the environment.

WWF is one of the world’s largest independent conservation organisations, active in nearly 100 countries. WWF’s supporters, more than five million of them worldwide are helping to restore nature. The aim is to tackle the main causes of nature’s decline, particularly the food system and climate change. WWF is very much part of the Plate of the Nation Campaign.

My opinion

I started a weight loss journey in December 2016. My experiences are testament to the fact that the health and fitness industry does more harm than good. Due to fad diets and weight loss trends, healthy food can be exorbitantly expensive. Brands have convinced people who desperately want to live healthier lifestyles, that they need additional products to achieve their goals. Our hectic lives means we are strapped for time and convenience plays a huge part in the problem Quickly, easy and convenient food is often cheaper but unhealthier. Junk food is definitely cheaper which means this is a solution for many South Africans who are feeling the economical pinch. Healthy eating on a budget is doable but one needs to do research and be creative in the kitchen. Eating the correct food is more than enough to help you achieve your goals. Achieving balance on our plates is also possible but does require a mindset change.


The super sexy and talented Lorna Masek took us through the proceedings for the day. She also gifted us with her Celebrate with Lorna Maseko cookbook. I already have a copy so I’m giving one lucky reader the extra cookbook. All you have to do is click HERE to enter on my Instagram account. T’s & C’s apply.

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