Scenario 4: empty husks?

Food as nutrition

This scenario explores the impacts of malnutrition coupled with low education outcomes on social prosperity and economic growth.




Why do people eat the food they do?


What if...

the crisis of malnutrition significantly dents South Africa's economic growth and social prosperity?

Food is examined as...

a source of health, well-being and productivity

This scenario is driven by...

urbanisation, low education outcomes, a growing burden of lifestyle diseases, increased nutrition awareness and increased food regulation by the state



The Scenario

It is 2015 and positive things are happening in South Africa. There is significant investment in infrastructure, the health system is preparing to deliver free, high-quality primary healthcare to all, and there are signs that the education system will be shaken up to realise the vision of the National Development Plan. 

Amid concern about the growing burden of non-communicable diseases caused by dietary habits and lifestyle, the state introduces new policies to reduce salt and sugar consumption. 

By 2022 it becomes apparent that the significant amounts of money and hope invested in infrastructure and education programmes are failing to deliver the expected jumpstart to the economy. Although more people are employed, productivity languishes.

More children are entering education and are benefiting from school feeding schemes, but their academic results still fall short of the state’s expectations especially considering how much the state invests in education per child.

By 2030 the combined realities of growing lifestyle-disease burden, underperformance in education and low workplace productivity, despite major investments in each, turn the spotlight on nutritional deficits and the unhealthy eating habits of South Africans and the President commissions a review that creates a growing understanding of the interrelated nature of nutrition, well-being, education and productivity.