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Cost of food soars nearly 11% in a year

Suthentira Govender Senior reporter
Food costs nearly 11% more than it did a year ago. Stock photo.
Food costs nearly 11% more than it did a year ago. Stock photo.

Struggling South Africans are paying nearly 11% more for basic food items than they did a year ago.

This is according to the latest household affordability index, compiled by the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group (PMBEJD).

The index tracks food price data from 44 supermarkets and 30 butcheries, in Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Pietermaritzburg and Springbok in the Northern Cape.

The average cost of the household food basket, according to the index, increased by R470.28 (10.9%) from R4,317.56 in October 2021 to R4,787.83 in October 2022.

“Foods which increased in price in October by more than 5% include onions, butternut, carrots, green pepper, oranges, rice, sugar beans, potatoes and peanut butter,” said Mervyn Abrahams of PMBEJD.

“In October 2022, the child support grant of R480 is 28% below the food poverty line of R663, and 42% below the average cost to feed a child a basic nutritious diet (R825.31).

“The national minimum wage is R23.19 an hour and R185.52 for an eight-hour day. In October 2022, with 21 working days, the maximum national minimum wage for a general worker is R3,895.92.”

He said the current cost of a basic nutritional food basket for a family of four is R3,234.69.

“On our calculations, using Pietermaritzburg-based figures for electricity and transport, and the average figure for a minimum nutritional basket of food for a family of four, puts electricity and transport, taking up 59% of a worker’s wage (R2,299.50 of R3,895.92). 

“Food is bought after monies for transport and electricity have been paid for or set aside (leaving only R1,596.42 — for food and everything else), and so in October, PMBEJD calculates that workers’ families will underspend on food by a minimum of 50.6% (having R1,596.42 left after transport and electricity, and with food costing R3,234.69).”


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