Purchasing patterns of major plant staples in low-income households in the Vaal Triangle

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Amuli, Dorah John
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Very poor families, mostly in developing parts of the world, consume a monotonous staple diet out of need and are least likely to eat healthy diets. This study focussed on how the low income households in the urbanised informal settlement of Eatonside used available income to buy plant staples (situation analysis), the share of the food budget Rand allocated to this (investigative survey), as well as the extent of influence of low income, food prices, and locality on the buying behaviour. The aspects of where, how much, when and how low-income households purchased were examined in order to determine the purchasing patterns for plant staples. From the households surveyed, most (62,2%) received an income of less than R500.00/month. Household size affected food purchasing and varied according to the type of household head. Total food budget expenditure by male-headed households was 83,1 percent, 58,1 percent by female-headed households and 27,9 percent by de facto headed households. The total average share/portion of the food budget allocated to purchasing of plant staples was reported as R64.63 ±(R8.04). While male-headed households spent 15 percent of the total share/portion/month allocated to purchasing of plant staples, female-headed households spent 23,1 percent and de facto-headed households spent 21,1 percent. Total average expenditure allocated to plant staples was 58,1 percent for maize meal, 23,2 percent for rice, 4,6 percent for mabella, 3,9 percent for sugar beans, 3,7 percent for samp, 2,5 percent for split peas and 4 percent on various other plant staples. Price and quantity (63,6%) were main purchasing indicators. Less plant staples were purchased when prices were high and more when prices were low. Normally when prices of other food products are high, people buy more staples to survive. Most frequent purchases for maize meal was 12,5 kg (65%) once a month (41,7%) at an average price of R32.80 per unit from spaza shops. Plant staples were mostly purchased once a month (80,2%) at supermarkets (47%) or spaza shops (42%). The urbanised low income households of Eatonside were poor, leading to the allocation of a major component of the budget to food (plant staples). Purchasing patterns, plant staples, low-income households, Eatonside informal settlement.
Dissertation (M. Tech. (Food Service Management, Dept. of Hospitality and Tourism)) -- Vaal University of Technology
Staple diets, Buying behaviour, Plant staples., Maize, Food staples, Food budget., Low income households