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Prices of fuel‚ vegetables‚ oils‚ fats‚ bread‚ cereal and fruit are down

| Economic factors

Believe it or not‚ the price of fuel‚ vegetables‚ oils‚ fats‚ bread‚ cereal and fruit has decreased since the start of the year.

StatsSA compared the Consumer Price Index (CPI) this year for August with January. They found the price of vegetables dropped by 3.6%‚ oils and fats by 3.9%‚ bread and cereals by 4% and fruit by 8.4%.

The CPI takes the price of a basket of goods and services to see how their prices change over time. Lettuce‚ tomatoes‚ pumpkins and potatoes in particular contributed to the current price decrease.

Stellenbosch University dietician Irene Labuschagne suspects the public is unaware of these decreases and the value for money of buying vegetables over sweets. “It is not as if they are going to start buying more [vegetables]‚ because they are already in the habit of buying products they are used to buying.”

Economist Dawie Roodt is not surprised by the drop in prices after last year’s drought‚ which caused a spike in prices. “Something that is a lot cheaper this year is maize‚ which has a knock-on effect on other items such as chicken and beef.”

Several products were imported due to the drought. Economist Mike Schüssler said because South Africa is geographically far away from other countries this increased prices.

StatsSA said the fuel price decreased by 1.6% since the start of the year.

According to Discovery Vitality ObeCity Index 2017 released on Wednesday‚ obesity costs the South African economy annually about R701-billion.

The index studied which food items about 500 000 Vitality members over 18 years old bought in Johannesburg‚ Pretoria‚ Cape Town‚ Durban‚ Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth.

According to their data members who purchased healthy food have a 10% lower body mass index (BMI). BMI is calculated using a person's weight and height.

The cherry on top for those who eat healthily is that the price of fruit has decreased by 8.4% to levels last seen around June 2016. Bananas‚ plums and pineapples were the main contributors to this drop. Labuschagne however believes these items will not have a significant impact on the basket of most consumers‚ because they are not as popular.

There is also good news for those who are not banting‚ with the price of bread and cereal decreasing by 4% after steeply rising in 2016. StatsSA said the decrease is due to crop production recovering from one of the worst droughts in South African history.

Recent StatsSA figures showed South Africans spend more money on beer than vegetables. Beer accounted for 2.1% of household spending while only 1.5% was spent on vegetables. Labuschagne said she is not surprised and that the alcohol consumption of South Africans is “alarming”.

Now is the time to opt for the healthy option the next time you think of buying a beer.

City rankings according to Discovery Vitality ObeCity Index 2017:

The combined score of the Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference - leanest at the top: 1. Cape Town 2. Johannesburg 3. Durban 4. Pretoria 5. Bloemfontein 6. Port Elizabeth

The average number of fruit and vegetable portions purchased per member: 1. Cape Town 2. Johannesburg 3. Bloemfontein 4. Pretoria 5. Port Elizabeth 6. Durban The average number of teaspoons of salt purchased per member – determined by taking into account purchases of salt as well as of high-salt foods: 1. Durban 2. Port Elizabeth 3. Pretoria 4. Bloemfontein 5. Cape Town 6. Johannesburg

The average number of teaspoons of sugar purchased per member – determined by taking into account purchases of sugar as well as sugary snacks and drinks: 1. Durban 2. Port Elizabeth 3. Pretoria 4. Johannesburg 5. Cape Town 6. Bloemfontein

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