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Potatoes, chicken, and eggs are getting more expensive

  • Statistics South Africa has released its latest report on consumer price inflation locally.
  • While inflation eased slightly in December compared to the previous two months, the cost of potatoes has risen by more than 50 percent over the course of a year.
  • Poultry and eggs have also been impacted of late, with it increasing in price at a higher rate than other meat products in SA.

The cost of pantry staples like potatoes and eggs in South Africa are becoming worryingly expensive. This according to the latest figures shared by Statistics South Africa in its consumer price inflation report.

Stats SA looked at the cost of food and beverage products locally for December 2023, as well as some items over the course of the year, and while the inflation increase was less at 5.1 percent for the month compared to the previous two months, there are some concerning increases in key areas.

Zeroing in on the numbers over the course of the year, Stats SA said inflation in general eased in the second half of the year compared to the first.

“The average inflation rate for the year was 6,0%, lower than 2022’s 6,9%. Inflation was relatively hot in the first five months of 2023 (January–May), with the headline rate consistently above 6,0%. Inflation eased below this level for the remaining seven months of the year,” it’s report shared.

That said, four areas did not experience the same softening.

“Product categories ending the year with annual rates higher than 6,0% in December were food & non-alcoholic beverages (8,5%), restaurants & hotels (7,0%) and health (6,5%),” Stats SA highlighted.

Looking specifically at food, it noted that, “Annual meat inflation ticked up to 3,9% in December from 3,5% in November. Sharp annual price increases continue to haunt poultry products, such as chicken giblets (up 18,5%), fresh chicken portions (up 14,6%), non-IQF frozen portions (up 8,8%), whole chickens (up 8,4%) and IQF chicken portions (up 6,4%).”

“The milk, eggs & cheese price index increased by 14,5% in the 12 months to December, higher than November’s rate of 13,9%,” it continued.

As for potatoes, of which sweet potatoes suffered the same fate, they became 51.9 percent more expensive over the course of last year. Other pantry staples like eggs rose by 38 percent, while rice increased by 19.9 percent over a 12-month period.

Much has been made of the rising cost of living in 2023 amid a global economic downturn.

Added to this is a number of big tech companies laying off staff to kick off the new year, which does not bode well for average consumers either, especially when it comes to being able to afford the basics that are seemingly rising in price at an alarming rate, according to Stats SA’s latest figures.

How much more South African consumers can cope with these increases without some sort of government intervention, remains to be seen.

To look at the latest consumer price inflation report in greater detail, you can download it from Stats SA here.

[Images – Photo by Hai Nguyen on Unsplash]

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