The recent increase in the number of black working women has meant that time has become an even more precious commodity in the majority of households with working women than before. Growth in women’s participation in the labour market has tended to stimulate the demand for time-saving goods and services, especially convenience foods to cope with time pressure in the preparation of meals. South African working women are moving towards the consumption of convenience foods as they become busier, managing both work and household chores, and also having more disposable income. This study aimed at gathering ideas and insight on the acceptability and use of convenience foods by black women employed by government in Mpumalanga. It investigated the consumption frequency of convenience foods in four categories, the contributing sensory attributes and the influence of resources, the socio-cultural environment and the occasion or situation on the acceptability and use of convenience foods. Food outlets used by black working women for the purchase of convenience foods were also identified. To elicit relevant information, a quantitative research design and survey techniques using structured questionnaires, with open and closed-ended questions were used to gather information. With the literature review and the objectives of the study in mind, 200 working women employed by government at the government Boulevard complex in Nelspruit formed the sample group. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences Version 9.0.1 (SPSS), a computer statistical data programme. Descriptive and inferential statistics facilitated data analysis. From the discussion and interpretation of the results of the sample survey it was clear that black working women tend to either use certain types of convenience foods in the four convenience food categories less frequent (not more than twice in a week) or to use certain types of convenience foods, frequently (3 -4 times in a week or 5 - 6 times and every day of the week). The results showed clearly that there were relatively high proportions of working women (more than 56, 5% of the respondents) who were low users of almost each type of the convenience foods in the four convenience food categories except for baked products, cereal dishes, fried/grilled/roasted meat, and fully prepared refrigerated salads in category A; meat stews and fully prepared vegetable dishes in category B; breakfast cereals, vegetable salad ingredients, instant soups and instant sauces in category C and cleaned/pealed ready to cook vegetable items, pre-cut frozen vegetables, crumbed frozen fish and crumbed frozen or refrigerated meat portions in category D. Moreover, the findings confirmed that the sensory attributes, appearance, texture, smell and taste and flavour were considered very important in the acceptability and use of convenience foods. Resources, the socio-cultural environment and occasion or situation were also seen to have had a positive influence on the acceptability and use of convenience foods by the black women employed by government in Mpumalanga who participated in the survey. The study has contributed to the limited literature on the use of convenience foods especially by black working women. Moreover, food product developers and retailers will gain insight into the provision of convenience foods relevant to the needs and desires of time pressed consumers.
Dissertation (MConsSci)--University of Pretoria, 2009.