Street foods and fast foods: how much do South Africans of different ethnic groups consume?
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To assess consumption of street food (sold by vendors) and fast food (from fast food outlets) by different ethnic groups in South Africa. A national cross-sectional survey representative of adults from different ethnic groups, provinces, geographic localities, and socio-economic strata was undertaken. Trained interviewers visited participants at their homes during October 2009. Specific questions relating to street food and fast food consumption were asked. At the national level, 11.3% of the population bought food from street vendors and 6.8% from fast food outlets frequently. Black Africans were the most frequent consumers of street food with nearly one out of five (19%) consuming such foods at least twice a week. By contrast, Indians (1.9%) and Whites (2.9%) had the lowest street food consumption. Indians (14%) and Whites (12.5%) had the highest fast food consumption with the lowest percentages found in the Black (5.4%) and Euro-Afr-Malay groups. The highest consumption of street food took place in urban informal (19.4%) and urban formal areas (16.7%). The lowest percentage of respondents buying street food was recorded in rural areas (4.7%). Both street foods and fast foods are commonly consumed by South Africans with Black Africans being the most frequent consumers of street foods and Whites of fast foods. This first national survey on street food and fast food consumption identifies this business sector as a potential area for health and nutrition education intervention.