The cheapest retailer for groceries in South Africa right now – Woolies vs Checkers vs Pick n Pay and more

 ·2 May 2023

Of the eight most popular grocery retailers in South Africa, Makro offers the cheapest basket of essential items as of 26 April 2023.

This is according to The Outlier’s monthly grocery basket comparison, which collects the prices of nine staple foods and products near the end of each month from six major retailers – Shoprite, Checkers, Pick n Pay, Spar, Food Lover’s Market and Woolworths.

However, they have added new additions to their comparison – Boxer and Makro – which brings the total number of retailers compared to eight.

The grocery basket comparison includes the nine necessities:

  • 700g loaf of Albany Superior Sliced White Bread, or store brand;
  • 2-litre store brand sunflower oil;
  • 2.5kg Iwisa maize meal;
  • 2.5kg Selati white sugar;
  • 2-litre store brand milk;
  • 2kg Tastic rice;
  • 2.5kg Snowflake cake flour;
  • 175g bar of Dettol Herbal Soap; and
  • 9-pack of two-ply Baby Soft toilet paper (or store brand).

The Outlier noted that, in some cases, store brand alternatives are used because some stores only keep the store brand versions of those items. Additionally, when some items aren’t available in-store, the online price is considered. The comparison covers the various retailers in several areas within Gauteng.

According to the data, the new addition Makro offers the cheapest basket in April 2023, totalling R393.60. This is R11.27 less than the second cheapest retailer – Food Lover’s Market.

Spar has the most expensive basket at R433.41, which is R39.81 more than Makro. It must be noted that Spar is franchised, meaning prices and items can vary from store to store.

The table below and the infographic gives the breakdown of prices for each item from the eight grocery retailers and who comes out as the cheapest.

Item Checkers Pick n Pay Woolworths Spar Shoprite Food Lover’s Boxer Makro
Bread R19.99 R19.99 R18.99 R20.99 R18.99 R19.45 R19.99 R17.95
Oil R89.99 R94.99 R89.99 R89.99 R84.99 R79.99 R79.99 R69.95
Maize meal R38.99 R43.49 R38.99 R36.99 R38.99 R34.99 R33.49 R32.95
White Sugar R57.99 R55.99 R53.99 R57.99 R57.99 R56.99 R56.99 R46.95
Milk R34.99 R32.99 R36.99 R37.99 R34.49 R37.49 R33.49 R34
Rice R37.99 R37.99 R37.99 R36.99 R37.99 R37.99 R37.99 R35.95
Flour R41.99 R44.99 R41.99 R49.99 R39.99 R41.99 R41.99 R44.95
Soap R16.99 R16.99 R15.99 R16.99 R16.99 R16.99 R16.99 R15.45
Toilet paper R82.99 R80.59 R78.99 R85.49 R80.65 R78.99 R89.99 R95.45
Total  R421.91 R428.01 R413.91 R433.41 R411.07 R404.87 R410.91 R393.60

Food inflation has remained stubbornly high in South Africa due to heightened fuel prices, relentless load shedding, and a weaker rand.

In April, the latest Household Affordability Index by the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity Group (PMBEJD) shows

the average cost of the Household Food Basket hit over R5,000 for the first time, at R5,023.95.

Month-on-month, the average cost of the basket increased by R57.75 (1.2%) from R4,966.20 in March 2023.

However, year-on-year, the average cost of the basket increased by R481.02 (10.6%).

Inflation for food & non-alcoholic beverages (NAB) continued to accelerate in March, with prices increasing by 14.0%. This represents the largest annual increase since the 14.7% rise in March 2009 (14 years ago).

The PMBEJD basket comprises 44 core food items most frequently purchased by lower-income households, who make up most households in the country.

37 items in the basket all saw a price jump – 22 of which were 10% or more. However, there were 10 items which saw significant price increases of over 20%:

  • Onions: +82%
  • Green pepper: +43%
  • Potatoes: +33%
  • Carrots: 27%
  • Maize meal: +25%
  • Samp: +23%
  • Tomatoes: +23%
  • Cabbage: +21%
  • Cake flour: +20%
  • Stock cubes: +20%

The PMBEJD noted that the pressure at the tills will linger for longer due to stubborn inflation, which moved counter to market expectations at the end of March 2023 to 7.1% from 7.0% in February 2023.

Read: South Africans have had enough

Show comments
Subscribe to our daily newsletter