Tiger Brands and UP young professionals help fight food insecurity among students

Posted on July 07, 2023

“When it comes to universities, there is this misconception that there is money, funding, and bursaries, [and] therefore, for students, food insecurity is not a dire issue as it is across the whole of South Africa.”

This sentiment was shared by Tiger Brands Corporate Social Investment Coordinator Busisiwe Matontsi when young professionals from Tiger Brands and the University of Pretoria (UP) volunteered their time to prepare 250 food parcels for UP students.

The initiative was part of Tiger Brands’ Plates4Days programme, a flagship university nutrition programme in partnership with some of South Africa’s universities. It aims to address the issue of student hunger across universities. The UP Student Nutrition and Progress Programme (SNAPP) has been a beneficiary of the Tiger Brands Plates4Days programme since 2021.

“A lot of students suffer from food insecurity, and that affects their academic performance, their prospects, and them being able to move forward,” Matontsi said. “We know that a lot of students come from vulnerable families and are most in need. I feel like we forget that just because the student has gone to university, that background, that situation, has not changed. It is still the same.”

Qualifying students will receive a monthly food hamper packed with dietary staples such as maize meal and rice prepared by young professionals from Tiger Brands and the University of Pretoria.

Qualifying students will receive a monthly food hamper packed with dietary staples such as maize meal and rice prepared by young professionals from Tiger Brands and the University of Pretoria.

She said Plates4Days was initiated in 2008 with ambitions to make food one less worry for students who embark on the critical mission of earning an education – which is essential to take South Africa forward. The programme supports more than 5 000 students at seven South African universities. Qualifying students receive a monthly food hamper packed with dietary staples such as maize meal and rice.

“We do know from studies that there is a correlation between hunger and academic performance,” Matontsi added. “These studies have been able to show that once students have the support they need, and the proper nutritional support, they can perform better. This is why for us this is such an important programme. These students are the ones that we absorb into our companies, so we need to be able to be part of that social sentiment and be able to provide that social safety net, because they are coming into our companies and helping them perform better. They are the ones bringing in innovation and helping companies move forward.”

Bhaviksha Ramouthar, Project Coordinator at the Department of Student Affairs, said the UP SNAPP and Tiger Brands Plates4Days programme collaboration since the latter half of 2020 has significantly impacted the University’s ability to extend support to students in need of food. It provided UP with the stability needed to more than double its intake of students placed on the food parcel database from 90 to 250, thanks to the monthly donations of non-perishable goods it receives from Tiger Brands. Monitoring measures put in place also show that the partnership has contributed toward greatly improving the affected students’ academic performance.

“I do not think we would have been able to do this without Tiger Brands’ support,” Ramouthar said. “If you look at it in terms of monetary donations, our operational funds for the programme are not even a fraction of what we receive from Tiger Brands. We would not be able to run the programme at this scale if we were not a partner of Plates4Days.”

- Author James Mahlokwane

Copyright © University of Pretoria 2024. All rights reserved.

COVID-19 Corona Virus South African Resource Portal

To contact the University during the COVID-19 lockdown, please send an email to [email protected]

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences