Document Type

AFSUN Urban Food Security Series

Publication Date



Balsillie School of International Affairs


As in many parts of the world, supermarket expansion and control of food supply chains is having a major impact on the quality, quantity and price of food available to urban residents. Growing numbers of poor households in Southern African cities now obtain their food, directly or indirectly, from supermarkets. In most cities, these same households spend over 40 percent of household income on food. Supermarket expansion is also having a major impact on the informal sector. This paper reviews the changing nature of the urban food supply in Southern African cities, the role of supermarkets and the informal sector in food accessibility and the implications for the food security of the urban poor.