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How much more you’re paying at the tills for food than last year

| Economic factors

The Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (Pacsa) has released its annual report, showing how much food price inflation has hit over the past 12 months – especially for low-income households.

According to the group’s data, comparing prices between September 2015 and September 2015, food price inflation in its basket of 36 items hit over 15% in the past year.

Inflation was particularly high on foods that already carry high prices – meaning that there was far less money available for South Africans to spend on all other essential food items.

These high-price foods tend to be nutrient-rich: foods like meat, eggs and fish, vegetables and dairy products, Pacsa said.

“This year, along with substantial increases on the ‘big foods’; inflation on these nutrient-rich foods has also been very high. It means that nutritional diversity has been doubly threatened because not only is there less money to spend but the cost of foods has also increased,” the group said.

This has been particularly damaging to poorer households, who already suffer from nutrient deficient diets.

“Low-income households are really struggling. It is becoming more difficult to put food on the table,” Pacsa said.

“The drought and high temperatures has had a significant impact on food prices. Foods in the baskets of low income households increased sharply from November 2015, when the effects of the drought started to impact on the prices on the supermarket shelves.”

Data showed that overall food price inflation in the Pacsa Food Basket over the period of review was at 15.1%. In rand value, the cost of the basket increased by R243.63 from R1,616.97 to R1,860.60.

pacsa-basket-change


Most foods in the food basket increased over the period of review. 25/36 foods increased significantly (above 5%), with the average increase of these 25 foods at 22%.

The table below shows food price inflation in the Pacsa food basket over the past year.

Food

Quantity

September 2015

September 2016

Change

Onions

10kg

R25.83

R45.18

75%

Potatoes

10kg

R30.50

R51.20

68%

Samp

5kg

R37.66

R51.66

37%

Sugar beans

5kg

R73.82

R99.48

35%

Maize meal

25kg

R170.80

R225.82

32%

Curry powder

200g

R21.16

R27.15

28%

White sugar

10kg

R106.81

R136.82

28%

Apples

1.5kg

R12.45

R15.74

26%

Cooking oil

4L

R63.99

R77.99

22%

Rice

10kg

R67.16

R80.16

19%

Fresh milk

2L

R24.02

R28.65

19%

Beef stock

240g

R14.66

R17.16

17%

Soup

600g

R20.21

R23.54

16%

Maas

2L

R25.45

R29.48

16%

Polony

2.5kg

R36.64

R4166

14%

Beef

1kg

R48.32

R54.49

13%

Eggs

30 eggs

R35.15

R39.32

12%

Pasta

1kg

R21.49

R23.99

12%

Cake flour

10kg

R73.15

R81.66

12%

Rooibos tea bags

200g

R16.82

R18.66

11%

Coffee

100g

R15.49

R17.15

11%

Chicken necks

6kg

R99.70

R108.46

9%

Carrots

2kg

R11.80

R12.65

7%

Canned fish

4 tins

R57.96

R61.93

7%

Salt

1kg

R10.65

R11.33

6%

Yeast

28g

R12.15

R12.82

5%

White bread

8 loaves

R82.03

R85.27

4%

Brown bread

4 loaves

R37.57

R38.97

4%

Frozen chicken

6kg

R128.47

R130.95

2%

Canned beans

3 cans

R25.47

R25.47

0%

Cremora

1kg

R37.49

R36.99

-1%

Chicken feet

4kg

R73.95

R68.63

-7%

Cabbage

2 heads

R14.31

R12.98

-9%

Tomatoes

3kg

R28.33

R24.58

-13%

Margarine

1kg

R36.82

R31.32

-15%

Spinach

4 bunches

R18.71

R11.33

-39%

         

Total

 

R1 616.97

R1 860.30

15.1%

Pacsa noted that there was growing talk around the need to raise VAT to bring in additional revenue to the national fiscus – however, it criticised such a move, saying it would impact low-income households more than anyone.

The report also reiterates Pacsa’s call for a decent minimum wage to be set, allowing for households to consume foods that meet family members’ nutritional needs.

A nutritionally complete basket of food that will serve a family of seven comes to R4,188.73, according to Pacsa. This was 15% higher than in September 2015, when the price was at R3,644.09.

price-inflation

When including all the other necessary monthly expenses – such as transport, rent, clothing and education – only a minimum wage of R8,000 would be able to provide people with a dignified life, the group said.

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