Reasons for declining maize consumption in Gauteng.
The effects of urbanisation on maize consumption are considered in the context of Gauteng as it is almost completely urbanized (96%) and would have data that would be more readily available and up to date. Anecdotal evidence of a per capita decline in maize consumption is based on an expected greater degree of employment of the population. A greater proportion of women in the workforce is also expected placing time constraints on households. The resulting expected increase of disposable income combined with time constraints would cause higher consumption rates of convenience foods. The envisaged declining trend of per capita maize consumption necessitated a need to discuss Engel's Law which states with rising incomes, the proportional share of expenditure on food declines (Engel, 1877). Bennett's Law is also discussed which is an empirical generalization of an inverse relationship between the percentage of total calories derived from cereals and other staple foods and per capita income (Bennett, 1954). The population demographics of Gauteng are analysed, the main reference being a detailed comparison between the 1996 and 2001 censuses. Where data is available trends are extrapolated using South African Statistical Services' mid-year population estimates for 2004 (STATS SA, 2004). The demographics of the black African population, as the dominant consumers of maize meal, are paid particular attention. It was revealed that unemployment and poverty rates are increasing placing considerable pressure on, in particular, black African households. It was also found that black African income levels had not increased to the degree of other population groups. The HIV/AIDS pandemic, affecting mainly the black African population and mostly of an employable age, is considered. Mortality rates attributed to AIDS are controversial but an irrefutable dramatic declining life expectancy of the national population was found placing additional strain on household budgets. Also considered are eating habits by population group and by region made available by the Bureau of Market Research.