The cheapest retailer for groceries right now – Woolies vs Pick n Pay vs Checkers and more
Of the eight most popular grocery retailers in South Africa, Makro offers the cheapest basket of essential items for a third consecutive month as of 29 June 2023.
This is according to The Outlier’s monthly grocery basket comparison, which collected the prices of 12 staple foods and products near the end of each month from eight major retailers – Shoprite, Checkers, Pick n Pay, Spar, Food Lover’s Market, Woolworths, Boxer, and Makro.
The Outlier noted that, as more retailers were added to the survey, they’ve had to tweak the shopping list as it has become difficult to find comparable products across the different stores.
“As of June 2023, for example, we’re no longer comparing the price of a 9-pack of two-ply toilet paper. Instead, we’ve added four new items to the basket, bringing it to a total of 12 items,” the data publication said.
The grocery basket comparison now includes:
- 700g loaf of Albany Superior sliced white bread, or store brand
- 2-litre sunflower oil (cheapest option)
- 2.5kg Iwisa maize meal
- 2.5kg Selati white sugar
- 2-litre milk (cheapest option)
- 2kg Tastic rice
- 2.5kg Snowflake cake flour
- 175g bar of Dettol herbal soap
- 500g Fatti’s & Moni’s spaghetti, or store brand
- 400g smooth Black Cat peanut butter
- 1kg Jungle Oats
- 100 Joko tagless teabags
The Outlier also noted that, in some cases, store brand alternatives are used because some stores only keep the store brand versions of those items. Additionally, when some items aren’t available in-store, the online price is considered. The comparison covers the various retailers in several areas within Gauteng.
According to the data, the new addition Makro offers the cheapest basket in June 2023, totalling R450.99. This is R12.89 less than the second cheapest retailer – Shoprite (R463.88).
Pick n Pay had the most expensive basket at R505.88, which is R54,89 more than Makro. It must be noted that Spar is franchised, meaning prices and items can vary from store to store.
The infographic shows the total basket price comparison of the eight grocery retailers and who comes out as the cheapest.
Price changes over the past 12 months
The Outlier provided price changes of some items in their monthly grocery basket over the last 12 months.
According to the data, some prices have changed dramatically over the period. For example, in June 2022, the average price of a 2kg bag of Selati white sugar was R52.74. It has increased by 18%, and the average price is now R62.23.
However, at some retailers, the report noted that the price went up significantly between May and June.
“This brand of sugar was most expensive at Checkers and Shoprite in June, costing R69.99 for the 2.5kg bag,” it said, representing a 32.7% increase.
“The price surge stems from substantial increases that were passed on by the South African Sugar Association to all producers and customers due to cost pressures, according to an email reply from the Woolworths press office. The association said it could not respond to our questions,” the Outlier said.
The price of a 2kg packet of Tastic rice has also increased significantly. In June 2022, it had an average cost of R35.74 between four retailers, now it costs an average of R41.36 between eight retailers, said the report.
That’s R5.62 more and a 16% increase over 12 months. In May, the annual consumer inflation rate was 6.3%.
On the other end of the spectrum, in June 2022, the average price of a 2-litre bottle of sunflower oil was R115.74 between the four stores the Outlier noted it has the most data from – Woolworths, Checkers, Pick n Pay and Spar.
In June 2023, the average price is R83.24, a decrease of more than 28%.
The initial price surge of oil last year was due to poor climate conditions, resulting in poor harvests, which meant retailers had to source vegetable oil internationally, leading to price hikes.