Cheapest retailer for a full basket of groceries – Woolies vs Pick n Pay vs Checkers vs Shoprite

 ·11 Sep 2023

A recent consumer report compared the prices of 23 grocery items across four of South Africa’s most popular food retailers – revealing Shoprite as the cheapest option.

The comparison was conducted by analysts, who looked at the online prices of 23 food items necessary to meet the nutrient requirements of an average adult in South Africa. The prices were recorded in August 2023.

The basket consists of store-brand products and includes:

  • White bread 700g;
  • Butter 500g;
  • Canola oil 2L;
  • White Sugar 1kg;
  • Large eggs18-pack;
  • Water 1.5L;
  • Orange juice 1L;
  • Milk 1L;
  • Gouda cheese 450g;
  • Milk chocolate 150g;
  • White rice 1kg;
  • Pasta, 500g;
  • Nescafe coffee 200g;
  • Lipton tea 100 bags;
  • Chicken fillets 1kg;
  • Beef mince 500g;
  • Potatoes 1kg;
  • Onions 1kg;
  • Lettuce 1-pack;
  • Tomatoes 1kg;
  • Apples 1kg;
  • Oranges 2kg; and
  • Bananas 1kg.

The cheapest store in this comparison is Shoprite. In this store, basic food will cost the customers R931.17 – R34.60 less than the next cheapest retailer, Checkers.

Of the 23 items compared, Shoprite had the best prices for 10 of them: bread, canola oil, eggs, bottle of water, milk, pasta, beef mince, potatoes, tomatoes and bananas.

On the other end of the spectrum, Woolworths was the most expensive. In this store, basic food will cost the customers R1,095.77 – R25.50 more than the next most expensive retailer, Pick n Pay, and R164.60 more than Shoprite.

However, Of the 23 items compared, Woolworths had the best prices for five of them: sugar, white rice, Nescafe coffee, Lipton tea, and lettuce.

It should be noted that did not include Spar in its comparison. This is likely due to the fact that Spar is franchised, meaning prices and items can vary from store to store.

It’s also worth mentioning that Woolworths, Pick n Pay, and Checkers often target their products towards more affluent customers, meaning some of their products are more costly to source such as free-range and organic – while Shoprite targets the average South African consumer.

The table below shows how the prices of individual products are presented in all stores. These prices don’t include any discounts associated with loyalty memberships.

Product WoolworthsPick n PayCheckersShoprite
White bread 700gR18.99R16.49R19.99R15.99
Butter 500gR89.99R74.99R84.99R74.99
Canola oil 2LR89.99R92.99R79.99R74.99
Sugar 1kgR29.99R32.99R31.98R34.99
Large eggs 18-packR81.99R49.99R46.99R44.99
Water 1.5LR16.99R12.99R19.99R11.99
Orange juice 1LR35.99R31.99R33.99R32.99
Milk 1LR18.99R16.99R16.99R16.89
Gouda cheese 450gR84.99R99.99R60.00R60.00
Milk chocolate 150gR36.99R37.99R36.99R36.99
White rice 1kgR20.99R28.99R36.99R26.99
Pasta 500gR22.99R22.99R19.99R17.99
Nescafe coffee 200gR104.99R109.99R109.99R104.99
Lipton tea 100 bagsR49.99R79.99R69.99R69.99
Chicken fillets 1kgR117.99R96.99R69.99R84.99
Beef mince 500gR73.99R71.99R50.00R47.50
Potatoes 1kgR21.99R19.99R19.99R14.99
Onions 1kgR30.99R30.99R29.99R29.99
Lettuce 1-packR18.99R19.99R18.99R19.99
Tomatoes 1kgR28.99R22.99R24.99R19.99
Apples 1kgR29.99R29.99R22.99R24.99
Oranges 2kgR37.99R32.99R24.99R33.98
Bananas 1kgR30.99R34.99R34.99R29.99
Total:R1 095.77R1 070.27R965.77R931.17

Food prices remain high

South Africans have been forking out large sums of money on food in recent months, and prices continued to climb in August.

According to Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity Group (PMBEJD)’s latest Household Affordability Index for August 2023, the average cost of the Household Food Basket is R5,124.34.

This marks a 0.8% month-on-month increase in the Household Food Basket from R5,081.94 in July 2023 and a 7.3% year-on-year increase from R4,775.59 in August 2022.

Notably, the year-on-year increase is much lower than food inflation tracked by Stats SA, which hit 9.9% in July, from 11.0% in June. However, the increases are higher than headline inflation – which is often used to determine salary increases.

Headline inflation is now at 4.6% in July, down from 5.4% in June.

“The foods which make up the core staples, and which are prioritized first in the trolley and the purse, remain stubbornly high. In August 2023, these foods cost R2,826.37,” the PMBEJD said.

The PMBEJD basket has 44 core food items that are regularly bought by lower-income households.

Of these 44 items, 39 have seen year-on-year increases. The five largest of which are:

  • Onions: 84%
  • Potatoes: 45%
  • Butternut: 31%
  • Oranges: 30%
  • Carrots: 22%

However, there are four products that have seen price decreases:

  • Cooking oil: -29%
  • Beef: -4%
  • Inyama yangaphakathi: -10%
  • Margarine : -3%

Read: Online food price war – Checkers Sixty60 vs Pick n Pay Asap! vs Woolies Dash vs Spar2U

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