Why Nutrition?

School nutrition facilitates a child’s ability to learn and supports their promise of reaching the full potential as adults. Less than 50% of children who start school in Grade 1 in South Africa make it through Grade 12. Poor education drives the high unemployment rate, which is between 40% and 70% for those who have not completed high school.

Hunger, poverty and lack of access to effective education means that millions of caregivers are unable to provide for their children’s healthy development and education. Around 12 million children in South Africa live below the poverty line, and 4.4 million households in South Africa do not have frequent, reliable access to food.

A guaranteed meal served at school incentivises impoverished caregivers to send their children to school. It enables children to develop, grow and learn in a safe and stimulating environment, and prepares them to receive a formal education. When a child stays in school, their ability to generate future income and build a livelihood is increased. Through interactions with teachers, fellow-students and food preparers, the child also stays connected, cared for and involved.

See References

Where We Work


of South Africa children under 6 years fall below the food poverty line and are at risk of malnourishment and food insecurity

See References


of young children in the poorest 40% of households have no access to out-of-home educare

See References


of children attending schools in poverty quintiles one and two do not present as school ready in Grade One

See References


of children who start Grade One in South Africa will never complete Grade 12

See References

Nutritional Deficiencies

Malnutrition means more than stunting, wasting or being underweight. It can mean obesity and micronutrient (such as vitamin and mineral) deficiencies as well.

Increasingly we are seeing food high in sugars, processed carbohydrates and fats, but low in micro-nutrients, becoming more affordable and available. The consumption of these ‘globalised’ foods among the poor is resulting in overweight and obesity occurring alongside stunting. Micronutrient deficiencies can occur in children who are not necessarily hungry, but whose diets are of low nutrient quality, or which lack dietary diversity. This is often referred to as a ‘hidden hunger’ and can have serious impacts on education and health by reducing children’s learning ability, impairing development, and reducing immunity.

Our programme is designed to offer a school meal high in protein and fortified with micronutrients to combat all aspects of malnutrition.

What's included in the Lunchbox

We provide a rotating menu of nutritionally fortified foods that are delicious and familiar to the children. Each meal provides the child with a full range of macro and micro-nutrients, vitamins and minerals.

Maize Meal

Riboflavin, Folate, Thiamine


Protein, Folate, Magnesium, Iron, Vitamin B5, Zinc, Iron, Carotenes

Samp & Beans

Complex Carbohydrate, Protein

Soya Mince

Isoflavones, Pytate, Pytosterols, Soy Protein, Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Gravy Mix

Retinol, Riboflavin


Manganese, Selenium, Dietary Fiber


Potassium, Folic Acid, Zinc, Iron


Peanut Butter

Protein, Monounsaturated Fats, Resveratrol, Vitamin B3, Arginine, Vitamin E, Magnesium, Iron, Antioxidants


Schools add locally sourced vegetables three times a week

The Lunchbox Fund works constantly to improve our program. We consider the best possible options for our packaging and delivery with the aim of reducing our carbon footprint and minimizing ecological impact.

Weekly Lunch Menu 2019


Rice & Lentils, Soya Mince, VitaMilk


Samp & Beans, Gravy, VitaDrink


Super Maize Meal, Soya Mince, VitaMilk


Vegetable Biriyani, VitaDrink


Porridge or Peanut Butter Sandwiches, VitaMilk

Our menu has been externally reviewed by the Nutrition Information Centre at the University of Stellenbosch

Read Summary of the NICUS Analyses and Updated Menu