How much the price of bread, milk, and eggs increased in South Africa

 ·29 May 2024

New data from The Outlier shows how the price of popular food items, including bread, milk, eggs, fruit, chicken, cheese, and chocolate, increased.

The Outlier is an award-winning publication specialising in using data to create public service stories and visualisations.

Their primary focus is on issues that impact people’s lives, such as health, climate, politics, economics, and state services.

One of the biggest issues facing South Africans is food inflation. Many people are stretched financially, and higher food prices make it difficult to make ends meet.

High interest rates, high inflation, record petrol and diesel prices, and rising electricity costs have put tremendous strain on South African households.

Statistics South Africa’s (Stats SA’s) April 2024 consumer price index, released last week, contained some good news.

It showed that food and non-alcoholic beverage inflation continued to trend downward for the fifth consecutive month, to 4.7% year over year in April.

The expected upward pressure on food inflation from the past El Niño season is not significant and is expected to be short-lived.

Sanisha Packirisamy, an economist at Momentum Investments, said it was the first time food and non-alcoholic beverage inflation has dipped below 5% since September 2020.

More encouragingly, food inflation decreased to 4.4% year-on-year in April from 4.9% year-on-year in March.

“The reduction was broad-based with seven of the nine food categories easing in April,” Packirisamy said.

Meat inflation decreased to 0.5% year-on-year in April from 0.8% year-on-year in March. Bread and cereals inflation also dropped to 4.3% year-on-year in April.

Although still elevated, milk, eggs and cheese inflation moderated to 8.7% year-on-year in April from 10.1% year-on-year in March.

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) expects food and non-alcoholic beverage inflation to ease gradually over the next year.

It expects it to decline from 6.1% y/y in the first quarter of 2024 to around the midpoint of the inflation target range from the first quarter of 2025 onwards.

Further good news is that the outbreak of animal diseases in South Africa is largely contained.

However, Packirisamy warned that outbreaks are still occurring and, therefore, remain a risk to food inflation.

How food prices changed between 2017 and 2024

The Outlier used consumer prices from Stats SA’s Consumer Price Index between 2017 and 2024 to calculate how prices changed during the period.

The price of bread increased from R13.41 for a load of white bread to R18.43. The price of 2 litres of full-cream milk increased from R26.06 to R35.95.

The price of 18 eggs increased from R37.17 to R67.41, while a kilogram of cheddar cheese increased from R98.54 to R147.89.

The table below provides an overview of how South African food prices changed over the last seven years.

Onions (kg)R11.06R23.79115%
Eggs (18)R37.17R67.4181%
Cofee (250g)R34.83R61.9978%
Tea (250g)R30.66R54.0876%
Potatoes (kg)R12.51R21.4772%
Rice (kg)R18.65R31.8871%
Sugar (2.5kg)R37.18R63.3170%
Chocolate (slab)R14.15R22.9762%
Cheese (kg)R98.54R147.8950%
Tuna tinR17.24R25.5248%
Chicken (kg)R43.69R63.8146%
Beef mince (kg)R71.34R103.4245%
Milk (2l)R26.06R35.9538%
Bread white loafR13.41R18.4337%
Bananas (kg)R16.33R20.4625%

How prices changed over the years

The image below, courtesy of The Outlier, shows how the price of these goods changed over the years.

Read: Relief for consumers in South Africa

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