Sustainable Consumption , food waste reduction

Adoption of healthier, sustainable diets and reduction of food waste

CHOICE pilot activities in South Africa

In South Africa, a nation with a high meat consumption rate, dietary habits vary significantly across socioeconomic groups.

Over the past three decades, rising incomes have led to increased meat consumption, particularly among middle and high-income groups. However, approximately 43% of the population faces moderate to severe food security challenges. Additionally, about 62% cannot afford a healthy, balanced diet, primarily due to prevalent poverty.

Despite these disparities in food access, the country witnesses the annual waste of 10 million tons of food. In 2013, food-based dietary guidelines were introduced, promoting seven food groups for healthier eating. Yet, the prevailing dietary trends show a continued rise in processed and sugary beverage consumption, coupled with a decline in vegetable intake. This scenario underscores the urgent need for a shift towards healthier diets in South Africa.

Pilot Scope and Activities

Heterogeneous groups of youths of different socioeconomic backgrounds (regarding genders, food choices, household incomes, and environmental awareness) will participate in periodic social engagement campaigns. Locally inspired recommendations for the adoption of healthier, more environmental-friendly consumption and food preservation choices will be promoted, leveraging the “Shrink your Food Waste” application, where users will be able to receive notifications of food products with close expiration dates and get recipe tips inspired by the EAT-Lancet and healthy other diets. The app will leverage gamification and ‘teaming’ components, where groups among the local participants may be formed, sharing their experiences while presenting the multiplying effect of their choices when adopted by millions of citizens in their or other countries.
Dedicated challenges will be frequently promoted among participants to foster competition and enhance engagement, using data storytelling visuals and narratives that showcase the impacts of their food choices and practices. In total, youth networks from across several universities in the country will be involved in the pilot activities. At the same time, more than 20 stakeholders from the industry, academia and public authorities will participate in workshops to understand the impact (national and global) of selected scenarios on emissions, biodiversity and health.


The following CHOICE enablers will be used to achieve the pilot scope:

  • Carbon Footprint label.
  • Data storytelling visuals and narratives. 
  • Randomised Control Trials framework.
  • CHOICE IAM models through interactive interfaces.
  • Behavioural models.
Expected Measurable Outcomes
  • Increase 10-20% of the participating youth consumers that will actively adopt more healthy food choices;
  • More than 500 participants actively using the “Shrink your Food Waste” application, reducing as a consequence by 15% their total consumption footprint through rationalizing food waste.

Pilot leader: