The latest Household Affordability Index by the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity group (PMBEJD) shows that food prices decreased slightly in February 2022.
The civil society initiative’s data showed that year-on-year, however, basket prices have increased by 8.9%, outstripping headline inflation. The cost of the average household food basket increased by R354.52 from R4,001.17 in February 2021 to R4,355.70 in February 2022.
Statistics South Africa’s latest Consumer Price Index for January 2022 shows that headline inflation is 5.7%.
The key point of contention around inflation figures is that salaries and wages are negotiated around headline inflation. The national minimum wage is often only increased by headline CPI, and social grants have more recently been raised at rates far lower than CPI.
This creates a scenario where the amount coming in, does not match the rising costs of basic living, pushing the poorest further into poverty.
The basket comprises 44 core food items most frequently purchased by lower-income households, who make up most households in the country.
Five of the 44 foods came down in price over the last year; one item remained flat and the remaining goods all saw price hikes.
These were the most significant changes, where prices increased or declined by 10% or more.
Food prices February 2021 to February 2022 – big changes
- Beef liver +36%
- Cooking oil +35%
- Tomatoes +33%
- Chicken livers +29%
- Bananas +21%
- Gizzards +20%
- Butternut +20%
- Cremora +20%
- Polony +20%
- Cabbage +17%
- Margarine +17%
- Frozen chicken portions +14%
- Wors +13%
- Tripe +12%
- Spinach +12%
- Samp +11%
- Tinned pilchards +11%
- Apples +11%
- Beef +11%
- Sugar beans +10%
- Eggs +10%
Food prices January 2022 to February 2022 – big changes
Month on month, food prices changes are more muted, with the basket decreasing by 1% or R45.33. Of the basket of 44 items, 17 increased in price, two items were flat, and the remaining 26 saw a price drop.
There were only three significant moves either way:
- Oranges +30%
- Spinach +14%
- Butternut -19%
The average cost (weighted) of the total household food basket in February 2022 is R4,355.70.
Regionally, the difference in cost of the total household food basket in Joburg, Durban and Cape Town is consistent at around ±R150. Springbok and Pietermaritzburg tend to be outliers in the data (Springbok being highest, and Pietermaritzburg being lowest).