Food in the Modern World
Food Security in South Africa

©Eric Miller
A supermarket in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
What food means to us in today’s world is very different to what it meant hundreds of years ago. Industrialisation changed the way we grow, process, package and consume food. For most people living in cities food, the need for food is about getting the most convenient, satisfying and affordable option to fit with their busy lives.

SouthAfrica.co.za looks at how our relationship with food has changed over the years under the influence of industrialisation and urbanisation.

Food From 12 000 Years Ago to Today

The world we live in today is unlike anything our species has known before. For most of our human experience, we followed where our food went. If the herds migrated, we packed our things and trekked after them....more

Industrialisation and Food Production

When human societies first made the switch from a roaming, hunting-gathering existence to that of formal agriculture about 10 000 to 12 000 years ago, it was the ability to produce and store surplus food that then freed up people to become something other...more

Industrialisation Causing Diet Changes

Before the emergence of the so-called Western diet and the large-scale industrialisation of our food production, both of which are penetrating even some of the most remote parts of emerging economies, we tended to eat more leaves and fewer seeds....more

Informal Trading in South Africa

Informal trading is as much a part of life in the slums and townships of southern Africa’s cities as the people strolling the streets here. This informal economy ticks over vibrantly, in spite of not registering on the Receiver of Revenue’s books....more

Lifestyle Shifts and Diet

Our cities are making us fat and sick. Southern Africa is one of the fastest-urbanising parts of the world, and by the middle of this century over half of its populace will be city dwellers. But the shift from a pastoral life in the countryside...more

Our Cities Make us Fat and Sick

So, we are fat. It is our fault. We are simply greedy and lazy. Just stop eating so much. Get off the couch and move your body! Some experts call for greater regulation of the fast food industry, particularly in how they market their products...more

Supermarkets Changing Food Relationships

Growing urbanisation has occurred in tandem with the emergence of the industrial food-production system, backed by the forces of globalisation, which looks unlike anything we have seen before in the history of our relationship with food....more

Transitioning to Cheap, Fatty Foods

The demands of city living – hours and hours at work, time spent commuting, the seductive lure of the TV and the couch – give us less time to gather and prepare food...more