Beyond a preference for one- or two-ply, many South African consumers pay no heed to paper that takes the plunge – but new data shows that you could be getting ripped off.
Consumer website, Retail Price Watch has compiled data looking at various toilet paper brands across South Africa, and broken down how much you’re paying per sheet.
As a daily necessity for absolutely everyone in the world, toilet paper is a Key Value Item which many retailers use to draw consumers to their stores, with deals and discounts. Strangely, it flies under the radar when it comes to regulation, leaving it open to unscrupulous pricing practices.
Following the South African Tissue Manufacturers Association (SATMA) being disbanded, toilet paper has been fairly unregulated in the country. Previously, the association held the standard that 2-ply rolls of toilet paper should have 200 or 350 sheets (squares), with 1-ply at 500 sheets.
Most brands in South Africa still stick to these standards, even though there is no regulatory need to, offering rolls of 2-ply toilet paper at 350 sheets.
However, unwary consumers will find certain brands in the country offering rolls that contain only 250, but charging the same price.
Retail Price Watch broke down the per-sheet cost of these brands, and showed what consumers would pay for a hypothetical 500 sheets.
According to Retail Price Watch’s Viccy Baker, one brand of toilet paper stands out: Choppies – a Botswanan supermarket which has limited operations in South Africa, primarily in Limpopo, North West and the Free State.
“A pack of ten Choppies single ply rolls costs more than 10 individual rolls (R4.50 each as opposed to R4.29 each),” Baker noted.
A pack of 4 double ply rolls containing only 250 sheets each is R24.99 – or R6.25 per roll.
However, the price of a pack of nine double ply rolls with 350 sheets each is R49.99, or R5.55 each, showing quite a big price jump for fewer sheets.’
Thus Choppies has some of the highest price per sheet toilet paper, despite catering for lower LSM markets.
Cheapest and most expensive toilet paper brands
|1-Ply Brands||Rolls per pack||Sheets per roll||Total price||Price per roll||Price per sheet||Price of 500 sheets|
|Checkers House Brand||1||500||R5.49||R5.49||0.011||R5.49|
|2-Ply Brands||Rolls per pack||Sheets per roll||Total price||Price per roll||Price per sheet||Price of 500 sheets|
|Baby Soft Luxury Shea Butter||9||200||R58.99||R6.55||0.033||R16.39|
|Baby Soft Luxury Aloe Vera||9||200||R54.45||R6.05||0.030||R15.93|
|Baby soft White||4||350||R31.99||R8.00||0.023||R11.43|
Choppies is not alone
“In line with the American research it is true that, in general, you pay more for a single roll than for a large pack,” Retail Price Watch said.
“However, many of the stores leave a bit of a bad smell with the price manipulation of really large packs: a pack of 18 Checkers House Brand single ply costs R4.82 each – while a pack of 15 are R3.88 each.”
According to Jane Molony, executive director of the Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa (PAMSA), the group is working on a tissue paper working group to deal with tissue related issues.