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Prices of these 15 basic foods are up over 15% from last year

Soaring inflation seen largely across the board… 
The largest spike is seen in the dramatic increase in the price of cooking oil, which has surged some 69% since last June according to PMBEJD, on the back of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Image: Moneyweb

The latest Household Affordability Index from the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity Group [PMBEJD] shows that the price of a basic household food basket is up by 13.6% year-on-year in June.

This basket now costs R4 688 and is a R560 increase from a year ago.

Read: SA consumer confidence plunges

While many of the 44 food items tracked in the basket will not be in the trolleys or Sixty60 bags of Moneyweb readers, this is the lived experience of the majority of South Africans. Some items, such as basic staples (rice, cooking oil, etc) and veggies, will be found in the pantries and cupboards of readers of this website.

In fact, food price inflation experienced by those in upper income households is almost certainly even higher than 14%.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that prices of prepared produce and meat are, on average, easily more than 20% higher than a year ago.

Cooking oil spike

The largest spike is seen in the dramatic increase in the price of cooking oil, largely as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to PMBEJD, cooking oil now costs 69% more than last June.

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Its basket shows a further 14 items where prices are up by more than 15% from a year ago. This includes a number of vegetables (onions, green peppers, butternut, cabbage and spinach), meat products (chicken, beef and processed meats) as well as grains. Frozen chicken portions – one of the primary proteins for millions of South Africans – is not on

this list, but prices are up by 14% from June 2021.

Food June 2021 June 2022 Change
Cooking oil (5l) R135.74 R228.94 69%
Spinach (8 bunches) R82.33 R114.59 39%
Cake flour (10kg) R93.69 R115.90 24%
Chicken livers (2kg) R55.23 R68.29 24%
Cremora (800g) R35.40 R43.58 23%
Cabbage (2 heads) R32.28 R39.43 22%
Butternut (10kg) R65.62 R79.51 21%
Samp (5kg) R46.72 R55.29 18%
Beef liver (2kg) R83.83 R98.50 18%
Beef (2kg) R154.83 R182.41 18%
Polony (2.5kg) R53.73 R62.61 17%
Onions (10kg) R73.84 R85.57 16%
Wors (2kg) R120.62 R138.19 15%
Green pepper (2kg) R43.42 R49.71 15%
Brown bread (25 loaves) R299.85 R345.77 15%

There are only four foods in the PMBEJD’s basket where prices have not increased year on year: carrots, oranges, peanut butter, and rice (for the last of these, prices are actually down 4% year-on-year). Prices of a further 14 items are up in single digits versus last year.

The group also tracks a basket of 17 items “prioritised and bought first”. Here, average inflation is 14.3% in June – even higher than the broader basket.

Contrast the PMBEJD basket with StatsSA’s official CPI for May (admittedly a month prior) which shows headline CPI of 6.5%. In the food and non-alcoholic beverages category, with a weighting of 17%, inflation was 7.6% in May.

In its Quarterly Bulletin for June, the SA Reserve Bank says “Elevated domestic consumer food price inflation moderated somewhat in the two months to April 2022, despite a marked acceleration in agricultural and final manufactured producer food price inflation in March and April 2022″.

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“Agricultural producer food price inflation more than doubled from 8.8% in February 2022 to 19.2% in April due to a marked increase in the prices of both live animals as well as cereals and other crops, with the former impacted by the outbreak of foot and mouth disease and the latter by the sharply higher international maize and wheat prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The prices of milk and eggs also increased notably in March and April 2022. Farmers continue to face sharp increases in input costs, notably of fuel and fertiliser, due to disrupted supply chains,” the Quarterly Bulletin adds.

The PMBEJD data shows milk prices are 3% higher than a year ago, while the price of eggs is up 14%. Notably, its basket does not track the price of any cereal.

The group also tracks a basket of 14 domestic and personal hygiene items. Inflation for this sample of products was 15.9% year-on-year in June, with price increases of more than 15% for deodorant, toothpaste, washing powder and soap.

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Data for the baskets is collated by women off the “shelves of 44 supermarkets and 30 butcheries that target the low-income market and which women identified as those they shop at in the areas where they live”.

It notes that “food selection at the supermarket shelves mirrors how women themselves make decisions at the supermarket shelves given affordability constraints viz. that the foods are chosen on relative affordability and reasonable quality, and food brands are switched to seek out the cheapest prices and special deals”.


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The two costliest items – cooking oil and petrol are distinctively linked to the invasion of Ukraine ( largest producer in Europe of Sunflowers) by Russia ( largest supplier of Gas to Europe) If the SA government ever manages to get some of our taxpayers stolen billions back…it should be used to subsidise these basic foods….and go towards Education and Birth control which will assist the survival of the poorer citizen further. Just my opinion.

The US money supply almost doubled during the international state of lockdown to compensate for the infringement on property rights that destroyed fragile and complicated supply chains. When double the amount of money chases after the same amount of products, the price of those products will double in terms of that currency.

The citizens who suffered under the oppressive lockdown measures now received the invoice for those measures. The government took away your liberty, to protect you against yourself, and now you have to pay for it.

End of comments.



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