9 foods that have seen massive price hikes in South Africa

 ·29 Nov 2023

The latest food basket data from the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity group (PMBEJD) shows that food prices in South Africa continue to climb – with vegetables still showing double-digit hikes.

According to the PMBEJD, its household food basket for November 2023 increased to R5,314.63.

Month-on-month basked was up marginally by 0.3% – or R17.05 – while year on year, the increase in prices was much bigger, jumping R478.67 (9.9%) from R4,835.58 before.

While measuring data a month later than Stats SA’s basket, the 9.9% increase is higher than the latest recorded CPI for food, which came in at 8.7% in October from 8.1% in September and 8.0% in August.

The PMBEJD’s basket comprises 44 food items that most households in South Africa would purchase on a typical month. While this reflects a lower-income basket, this is what the majority of households would look at.

Approximately 55% of South Africans live under the upper-bound poverty line of R1,558 per month, the group noted.

Across the 44 food items tracked by the group, only three came down in price, year-on-year, and one item remained flat. The balance (40 items) went up.

19 food items saw double-digit growth year-on-year, reflecting significant increases – and nine were over 20%:

  • Potatoes: +92%
  • Eggs: +68%
  • Butternut: +45%
  • Oranges: +36%
  • Apples: +28%
  • Tomatoes: +27%
  • Rice: +23%
  • Chicken livers: +23%
  • Bananas: +20%

The stand-out price hikes were seen in potatoes (almost double the price of last year) and eggs.

According to the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP), South Africa has experienced a 24% reduction in potato volumes due to the impact of load shedding on the ability to irrigate, which is why prices have shot up.

Egg prices have shown a large amid the Avian Influenza (AI) outbreak – even compared to chicken meat prices.

Ramping up egg imports is significantly more complicated than is the case for chicken, the BFAP said, hence the price disparities.

The PMBEJD noted that the price of rice appears to be stabilising on a high base, following strain due to import restrictions from producing country.

Meanwhile, in line with the bird flu and chicken crisis, the group is starting to see some upward movement in Frozen chicken portions in Durban, Cape Town, and Pietermaritzburg.

By Region

In November 2023, food baskets increased in Durban, Springbok, and Pietermaritzburg and decreased in Joburg, Cape Town, and Mtubatuba.

  • The Joburg basket decreased by R98.60 (-1.8%) month-on-month, and increased by R500.62 (10.2%) year-on-year, to R5 410.49 in November 2023.

  • The Durban basket increased by R92.08 (1.8%) month-on-month, and increased by R440.15 (9.1%) year-on-year, to R5 269.70 in November 2023.

  • The Cape Town basket decreased by R14.27 (-0.3%) month-on-month, and increased by R546.06 (11.6%) year-on-year, to R5 248.39 in November 2023.

  • The Springbok basket increased by R115.93 (2.1%) month-on-month, and increased by R482.35 (9.2%) year-on-year to R5 751,54 in November 2023.

  • The Maritzburg basket increased by R115.53 (2.3%) month-on-month, and increased by R388.45 (8.3%) year-on-year, to R5 065.33 in November 2023.

  • The Mtubatuba basket decreased by R121.34 (-2.2%) month-on-month, and increased by R473.50 (9.7%) year-on-year, to R5 352.52 in November 2023.

Read: Good news for braai lovers in South Africa

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