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Comparison sees core food prices up again since June

Consumers dealing with double-whammy of rising grocery and fuel bills

Open ocean swimmer Marie-Claire Hand gets her recipe ideas while stroking kilometres through the sea. Here is her pickled fish recipe at dawn at Orient Beach.
Open ocean swimmer Marie-Claire Hand gets her recipe ideas while stroking kilometres through the sea. Here is her pickled fish recipe at dawn at Orient Beach.


Consumers continue to bear the brunt of rampant inflation, which reached a 13-year high of 7.4% in June according to Stats SA.

This is easily seen at the shops, with basic food essentials having risen by as much as R5 since the last time reporters measured in June...

DispatchLIVE visited three leading retail chains in East London and compared the prices of eight core food items to prices back in June. 

  • 1kg of potatoes had risen by R2.33 to R15.66
  • 750ml sunflower oil had risen by R1.33 to R47.32
  • A chicken tray had risen by R1.55 to R73.54
  • 1l of milk had risen by R5 to R19.99
  • 1kg of butternut had risen by R2.07 to R15.32
  • 1kg of mealie meal had risen by 46c to R14.99
  • 12x large eggs had risen by R6.01 to R37.99
  • 1x loaf of brown bread had risen by R5 to R15.99

According to the latest Household Affordability Index, compiled by the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity Group (PMBEJD), the month-on-month household food basket increased by 1.7% in June, while the cost of a basic nutritious diet for a family of seven was more than R5,500 a month.

“The data shows that the core foods contribute R55% of the total cost of the Household Food Basket,” the report said.

“The high cost of core staple foods result in a lot of proper nutritious food being removed off the family plates.

“The consequences of high costs on the core foods has a negative affect on overall household health and wellbeing, and child development.”

Consumers have found themselves having to somehow cope with the double-whammy of rising food prices and increased fuel costs.

Unleaded 95 has risen by more than R7 since January, while diesel 500 ppm has gone up by over R8.

Stutterheim livestock farmer Dean Palmer said his fuel costs had increased by 30% since January.

“Our biggest expenditure is fuel to try to get our products moved,” Palmer told DispatchLIVE.

The increased costs had also combined with a decrease in consumer demand, which was hitting his business hard. 

“There’s less disposable income. It has a circular effect.

“People are not spending like they used to, which leads to further unemployment.

“From the supplier to the end user, the effects are quite obvious. People can’t afford to buy the products.”

Palmer said the loss in income had meant he had to retrench staff, which only added to the country’s already high unemployment rate. 

“If you can’t afford to farm as you normally do, that’s quite a few job losses.”

DispatchLIVE reported earlier this week that the consumer price index (CPI) had accelerated to 7.4% from 6.5% in May, which put it above the Reserve Bank’s targeted inflation range of between 3% and 6%.

It was also higher than the 7% increase predicted by economists.

The increases in food prices could be linked to a number of factors. For example, the ongoing war in Ukraine has led to a global shortage of grain, which in turn has lead to an increase in the price of cooking oil, maize meal and wheat.

The continued devaluation of the rand against the dollar has made imports more expensive, while the continued increase in fuel prices affects every stage of the supply chain and is inevitably passed on to consumers.

Adding to consumer woes was the decision by the SA Reserve Bank to raise interest rates even further on Thursday.

After a 3-1-1 vote by the bank’s monetary policy committee (MPC) it bumped repo rates up by 75 points to 5.5%.



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