A cross sectional dietary study, utilising the 24 hour recall method, was conducted among 983 African adults aged 15 to 64 years resident in the Cape Peninsula during 1990. An evaluation of the dietary intake pattern revealed a diet confined to a relatively narrow range of foods, but little evidence of nutrient-empty food intake. In terms of recommendations, insufficient dairy products and vegetables and fruits were consumed, while requirements for intakes of cereals and components of the meat and fat groups were met. Supper emerged as the main meal of the day, contributing most of the energy and was consumed by 89 pc of respondents. Between meal eating made a valuable contribution to total nutrient intake. The low intakes of dairy products and vegetables and fruits and the apparent move away from the traditional diet present particularly great challenges.