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Grocery budgets: Say goodbye to these foods as they become much more expensive

| Economic factors

By: IOL Business

Fried chips, potato salad, baked or roasted potatoes, and stews and curries with potatoes – whichever your favourite, you may have to do without if you have any hope of spending less on groceries in the coming weeks.

And don’t pin your hopes on sweet potatoes either.

In just one year, the price of potatoes has gone up by 63.8 percent while, compared to last month, you are now paying 20.7 percent more for this humble vegetable; in October 2022, potatoes cost R13.93/kg but are now R22.82/kg, and one month ago, they were priced at R18.90/kg.

It is the food item that has seen the highest price increase, with the costs of transport, manure, and farm maintenance to blame.

Bananas, oranges, tomatoes, rice, and eggs are also items you may need to consider taking off your shopping list, or at least cut down on. And the news is just as bad for drinkers of black/Ceylon tea, particularly if you take your cuppa with white sugar.

Cost analysis of the National Agricultural Marketing Council’s (NAMC) 28-product food basket in October reveals which products have gone up the most in price – in one year, one month, or both:

Excluding potatoes, these are the highest increases compared to one month ago:

Tomatoes – 1kg

– Was: R22.22

– Now: R26.49

– Increase: R4.27(+19.2 percent)

Oranges – 1kg

– Was: R17.17

– Now: R19.16

– Increase: R1,99 (+11.6 percent)

Eggs – (18s)

– Was: R51.91

– Now: R57.46

– Increase: R5.55 (10.7 percent)

Excluding potatoes, these are the highest increases compared to one year ago:

Bananas (1kg)

– Was: R14.92

– Now: R21.20

– Increase: R6.28 (42.1 percent)

Ceylon/black tea (250g)

– Was: R39.95

– Now: R51.61

– Increase: R11.66 (29.2 percent)

White sugar (2.5kg)

– Was: R50.04

– Now: R62.02

– Increase: R11.98 (23.9 percent)

Rice (2kg)

– Was: R35.66

– Now: R43.70

– Increase: R8.04 (22.5 percent)

A few items in the NAMC food basket are currently cheaper than they were a month or year ago, but the price drops are small. Overall, the full basket cost is currently R1,221.52. This is R111.94 (10 percent) higher than a year ago, and R23.84 more (2.0 percent) more than last month.

The Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy’s (BFAP) Food Inflation Brief for October lists a few other grocery items that have seen higher-than-inflation price increases.

Food items that have gone up by 30 percent or more:

– Potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower

– Papaya, bananas

– Food items that have gone up by 20 percent to 30 percent:

– Rice, instant noodles, frozen potato chips

– Polony

– Onions, pumpkin

– Sugar

– Tea

– Soup powder

Food items that have gone up by 10 percent to 20 percent:

– Fresh chicken portions, chicken giblets, hake, fish fingers, bacon

– Cucumber, spinach

– Apples, pears

– Fruit juice, coffee, maize-based food drink, Rooibos tea, mineral water

– Condensed milk, yoghurt, powdered milk, Gouda cheese, Feta cheese

– Peanut butter, canned baked beans

– Sugar-rich foods

– Baking powder, chutney

– Vinegar, instant yeast

The report states that factors beyond the control of farmers are driving production costs up, and, thus, resulting in greater volatility in volumes presented to the market.

“A weaker Rand, which affects the cost of imported inputs such as fuel and fertiliser, together with the persistent pressure of load shedding remains the major driver of heightened input cost, influencing farmers’ enterprise (crop) and production decisions, while also driving up costs through the value chain.”

There is some good news, though, as prices of some food items have come down over the past year. These include:

– White bread

– Beef (offal, sirloin, rump steak, fillet, mince, brisket, stew, chuck, T-bone)

– Mutton/lamb (rib chops, neck, leg, stew)

– Fresh whole chicken, eggs

– Lettuce, beetroot, canned mixed vegetables

– Pineapple

– Fresh cream

– Plant oil

The BFAP Thrifty Healthy Food Basket (THFB), which measures the cost of basic healthy eating for low-income households consisting of two adults and an older and younger child, is currently R3,643 a month. This is an increase of R67 (1.9 percent) from the previous month and R341 (8.4 percent) from a year ago.


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