These 24 food items have seen double-digit price hikes in South Africa

 ·26 Jan 2024

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 some vegetables, fruits, and eggs still showing double-digit hikes.

According to the PMBEJD, its household food basket for January 2024 increased to R5,324.86 – an increase of R407.44 (8.3%) compared to January 2023. Month-on-month, the basket was up by 1.7% – or R86.66.

While measuring data a month later than Stats SA’s basket, the 8.3% increase is higher than the latest recorded CPI for food, which came in at 5.1% in December 2023 from 5.5% in November and 5.9% in October.

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

Across the 44 food items tracked by the group, only four came down in price, year-on-year, with Onions (-27%) and Cooking oil (-15%) seeing the largest price drops. The balance (40 items) went up.

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

  • Eggs: +50%
  • Butternut: +46%
  • Rice: +32%
  • Potatoes: +32%
  • Green Pepper: +28%
  • Apples: +27%
  • Bananas: +27%
  • Oranges: +20%
  • Soup: +20%

Despite the easing of inflation in December, economists expect CPI to tick higher in the first few months of 2024, anticipating a rise to 5.8% y/y in January.

However, annual inflation is still expected to come down to the mid-point of the SARB range at 4.5% for the year.

The increases in eggs and fruits were somewhat expected as, according to Stats SA, Food and NAB sub-categories that registered a rise in inflation in December include meat; milk, eggs & cheese; fish; fruit; and the miscellaneous sub-category referred to as ‘other’ food.

The 12-month increase in egg prices was 38.0%, slightly lower than November’s print of 39.9%. These increases reflect the price hikes seen in the poultry and egg sector due to the impact of the Avian Flu that hit producers in 2023.

By Region

In January 2024, food baskets increased in Durban, Springbok, Pietermaritzburg, Joburg, Cape Town, and Mtubatuba.

  • The Joburg basket increased by R13,68 (0,3%) month-on-month and increased by R488,49 (10,0%) year-on-year to R5 361,77 in January 2024.
  • The Durban basket increased by R149,17 (2,9%) month-on-month and increased by R387,39 (7,8%) year-on-year to R5 362,38 in January 2024.
  • The Cape Town basket increased by R84,44 (1,6%) month-on-month and increased by R268,75 (5,4%) year-on-year to R5 217,22 in January 2024.
  • The Springbok basket increased by R22,82 (0,4%) month-on-month and increased by R843,42 (17,7%) year-on-year to R5 620,55 in January 2024.
  • The Maritzburg basket increased by R203,74 (4,0%) month-on-month and increased by R387,79 (8,0%) year-on-year to R5 238,76 in January 2024.
  • The Mtubatuba basket increased by R191,36 (3,6%) month-on-month and increased by R255,76 (4,9%) year-on-year to R5 467,49 in January 2024.

Read: Good news for braai lovers in South Africa

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