Nutrient profile and energy cost of food sold by informal food vendors to learners in primary and secondary schools in the Eastern Cape, South Africa

Mieke Faber*, Anniza De Villiers, Jillian Hill, Paul J. Van Jaarsveld, Alice P. Okeyo, Eunice Seekoe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective To assess type, nutrient profile and cost of food items sold by informal vendors to learners; and to determine nutrient content of corn-based processed snacks frequently sold.Design Cross-sectional survey.Setting Quintile 1 to 3 schools (n 36) randomly selected from six education districts; Eastern Cape, South Africa.Participants Informal food vendors (n 92) selling inside or immediately outside the school premises.Results Food items sold at most schools were corn-based processed snacks (94 % of schools), sweets (89 %), lollipops (72 %) and biscuits (62 %). Based on the South African Nutrient Profiling model, none of these foods were profiled as healthy. Foods less commonly sold were fruits (28 % of schools) and animal-source foods; these foods were profiled as healthy. Mean (sd) energy cost (per 418 kJ (100 kcal)) was highest for animal-source foods (R2·95 (1·16)) and lowest for bread and vetkoek (R0·76 (0·21)), snacks (R0·76 (0·30)) and confectionery products (R0·70 (0·28)). The nutrient profiling score was inversely related to the energy cost of the food item (r = -0·562, P = 0·010). Compared with brand-name corn-based processed snacks, non-branded snacks had lower energy (2177 v. 2061 kJ; P = 0·031) content per 100 g. None of the brand-name samples contained sucrose; six of the nine non-branded samples contained sucrose, ranging from 4·4 to 6·2 g/100 g.Conclusions Foods mostly sold were unhealthy options, with the healthier food items being more expensive sources of energy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-530
Number of pages10
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Volume22
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Corn-based processed snacks
  • Food vendors
  • School food environment

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