The aim of this study is twofold. First, it assesses the full South African national policy landscape pertaining to the food system in order to understand policy alignment and coherence across and within sectors. Second, it provides an alternative way to view the South African food system, and correspondingly provides a framing for more effective alignment and coherence in food policy to ensure adequate food and nutrition security. The results of the study reveal three key dimensions that are overlooked in South African food policy: 1) the complexity of the food system, as revealed when taking a social-ecological system lens; 2) what appropriate policy responses to the food system would be; 3) the (mis)alignment of policy (across sectors). This in turn highlights issues surrounding departmental vision and the mechanisms required to ensure the coordination of sectors and internal directorates mandated to provide overall policy guidance for provincial and local government.