Shopping price war 2024: Woolworths vs Checkers vs Pick n Pay vs Spar

 ·16 Apr 2024

Due to high inflation in South Africa, many individuals are resorting to purchasing house-brand (white-label) products to help manage their budgets.

All of South Africa’s major retailers offer their own branded staples. This includes plenty of fresh produce, long-life products and other non-food items.

This basket looks at ten food items and six non-food items that would likely be found in a standard middle-class basket.

Like last year’s basket, Woolworths, Checkers, Spar, Pick n Pay’s ‘premium’ store brand (PnP), and Pick n Pay’s No Name branded products are compared.

Food Lover’s Market was excluded from the comparison this year for not stocking house brands of all the items featured in the basket nor comparable alternatives.

In terms of overall pricing, the No Name brand sold at Pick n Pay is the cheapest house brand basket – offering both the cheapest food and non-food basket.

Checkers’ house brand came in second, followed by PnP’s ‘premium’ store brand—only R29 separated second and third place.

On the other end of the prices, Woolworths had the most expensive food and non-food items.

ItemWooliesCheckersSparPnPNo Name
Baked BeansR15.99R11.99R11.99R13.99R11.99
Canned tuna R27.99R25.99R23.99R24.99R22.99
Tomato sauceR44.99R25.99R33.99R32.99R25.99
Mixed veg (frozen)R64.99R39.99R36.99R51.99R36.99
Cooking oilR79.99R74.99R59.99R79.99R79.99
White sugarR57.99R59.99R53.99R59.99R59.99
Long-life milk (6’s)R116.99R99.99R104.99R98.99R98.99
Food totalR524.90R420.90R418.90R448.90R410.90
Dishwash LiquidR35.99R24.99R22.99R25.99R24.99
Refuse bagR56.99R39.99R38.99R34.99R34.99
Toilet paperR169.99R129.99R147.99R129.99R129.99
All-purpose cleanerR35.99R21.99R24.99R22.99R22.99
kitchen towels R29.99R24.99R24.99R24.99R24.99
Non-food totalR358.94R257.94R289.94R258.94R254.94
Basket totalR883.84R678.84R708.84R707.84R665.84


South Africans have been battling high levels of inflation over the last year, with the annual consumer price inflation quickening to 5.6% in February 2024 from 5.3% in January

Inflation for food & NAB slowed to 6.1% in February. Most categories recorded lower annual rates, except for hot beverages and oils & fats.

Stats SA said the impact of rising fuel prices was evident in the data. The transport category registered an annual increase of 5.4%, driven higher mainly by increases in vehicle and fuel prices.

Despite these inflation woes, the majority of the baskets across the retailers showed prices increase well below inflation, with some showing bigger adjustments than others.

Woolworths’ price change was only 8.7%, well above the average of 2.6%. However, BusinessTech’s local Spar saw prices drop by 3.2% compared to April 2022, while Pick n Pay remained virtually unchanged.

PnP (0.1%), Checkers (4.3%) and No Name (2.3%) all recorded price increases well below inflation.

Price changes from 2022 to 2023 can be seen below:

Store 20232024Diff.
No NameR650.84R665.84+2.3%
Average R710.87R729.04+2.6%

Despite the positive shift in food prices year-on-year, there are some red flags for food inflation moving forward as South Africa faces drought conditions and the risk of higher food inflation.

Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa (Agbiz) chief economist Wandile Sihlobo noted that South Africans should appreciate that the drought is unlikely to result in broad increases in food prices.

The risk mainly lies in white maize due to notable crop failures in the western regions of the country.

Current estimates put yields down 25% year-on-year. However, globally, yields are expected to be up 6%, mainly driven by yellow maize. The white maize issue is mainly a South Africa and Southern Africa issue, he said.

But aside from this, products that are playing favourably for South Africa are wheat and rice, which the country imports.

Sihlobo said there are currently ample supplies of these, and prices are moderating. The rand exchange rate is the biggest factor in pricing.


We compared white-label branded items at Woolworths, Pick n Pay, Checkers, and Spar in Centurion. Prices were found in-store across stores in Centurion, Gauteng. If items were not available in-store, prices were acquired online or via confirmation from the retailer. Prices were gathered in the second week of April 2024.

All or Nothing 

This basket only looks at similar white-label branded items across the five retailers.

For Pick n Pay, a PnP-branded item would be used if a No Name version of the product was not available and vice versa. This is based on the idea that a shopper would be able to fill a basket of Pick n Pay’s store-branded items in one shop.

In addition, Spar runs separate franchises, so prices in one store are not always applicable in another store. We thus used the prices at our office’s local Spar in Centurion.

Quality is not considered 

This comparison only looks at pricing and does not compare the quality of products.

Although Woolworth’s R53.99 chutney may be of superior quality compared to No Name’s R26.99 chutney, these items are compared as they are the house brand options at their respective stores.

In all cases, the most comparable and cheapest version of the store-branded product was chosen; the only exception was Checker’s white sugar and tuna, where we chose the cheapest alternative as we could not find the price of its house brand.

As close as possible 

We did our best to find items in similar quantities across all retailers. However, we did allow for some minor discrepancies.

For instance, Woolworths sells Tomato sauce in 565g bottles compared to Pick n Pay’s 700g bottle. However, we counted them as similar items on the basis that a customer always buys a complete product.

As ever, when it comes to pricing and shopping: buyer beware.

Read: Toxic cough syrup pulled from shelves in South Africa – what you need to know

Show comments
Subscribe to our daily newsletter