Food prices increased by 1.3% in July — households underspend on nutrition
A trip to the shops will cost 1.3% more than it did in June.
This is according to the household affordability index by the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity (PMBEJD) organisation, which puts out a monthly update on the cost of feeding a household.
On Friday the organisation reported that the average cost of a basket of food rose by R60.06, from R4,688.81 in June 2022 to R4,748.87 in July.
Year-on-year the average cost of the household food basket increased by R611.44 (14.8%), from R4,137.43 in July 2021 to R4,748.87 in July 2022.
According to PMBEJD programme co-ordinator Mervyn Abrahams, indications are global commodity prices of grains, oilseeds and crude oil, among others, are stabilising.
“This means imported inflation is likely to be lower, and we should begin to see some of this filtering through. We are further likely to see lower fuel prices next month. However, while we may start to see food prices stabilising, it is not clear when prices will begin to fall.”
He said although the cost of the average household food basket continues to rise, the data over the past three months is starting to show a moderation in prices.
“This month, although still rising, the higher increase in the average household food basket is driven by a spike in the Cape Town basket (up by R157,41). The spike in the Cape Town basket has driven up the monthly increase of the average household food basket by approximately R20.”
Abrahams cautioned that moderation of food prices does not necessarily mean more money in people’s pockets, “because July and August bring with them increases in taxi fares and higher electricity tariff prices”.
“Pressures will therefore remain on households’ ability to afford their basic expenditures for the foreseeable future.”
Food baskets increased in Joburg, Durban and Cape Town, and decreased in Springbok and Pietermaritzburg:
- The Joburg basket increased by R22.33 (0.5%) month-on-month (MOM) and R583.62 (13.9%) year-on-year to R4,771.49 in July 2022.
- The Durban basket increased by R69.10 (1.4%) MOM and R724.97 (17.6%) year-on-year to R4,851.88 in July 2022.
- The Cape Town basket increased by R157.41 (3.5%) MOM and R576.93 (14.2%) year-on-year to R4,648.26 in July 2022.
- The Springbok basket decreased by R127.32 (-2.5%) MOM and increased by R411.29 (9.1%) year-on-year to R4,919.13 in July 2022.
- The Pietermaritzburg basket decreased by R37.58 (-0.8%) MOM and increased by R600.27 (15.1%) year-on-year to R4,564.94 in July 2022.
PMBEJD’s household domestic and personal hygiene index takes into account the changes in personal hygiene product prices. The July 2022 index shows an increase of R36.86 (4.4%) month-on-month, and the year-on-year index increased by R151.89 (21%).
This brings the total average cost of basic household domestic and personal hygiene products to R876.61 in July.
According to the index, significant increases were seen on green bar soap (up 11%), washing powder (up 6%), bath soap (up 8%), cream (up 11%), and sanitary pads (up 6%). The prices of dishwashing liquid, Handy Andy, Jik, toilet paper, toothpaste and deodorant increased.
“Green bar soap has increased by 67% year-on-year, with the typical quantity required by women for their families, of 8 x 500g bars, costing R110.87 a month in July 2022, or up another R10.76 since June 2022.
“The cost of basic hygiene products is high. These products compete in the household purse with food. These products are essential for good health and hygiene.”
The July 2022 cost of a basic nutritional food basket for a family of four people is R3,229.49.
With minimum wages set at R23.19 an hour, R185.52 for an eight-hour day and July’s 21-working days, the maximum national minimum wage for a general worker is R3,895.92.
Households will also be affected by increased electricity and transport costs, which according to PMBEJD, could eat up as much as half of a worker’s wages.
“Food is bought after monies for transport and electricity have been paid or set aside, leaving only R1,764.42 for food and everything else.”
In July 2022, PMBEJD estimates workers’ families will underspend on food by a minimum of 45.4%.
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