Eat beef stew with a cup of instant coffee if your budget is tight

Food prices have gone up, Stats SA data shows

23 July 2020 - 08:30 By TimesLIVE
Beef stew with umhluzi and pap.
Beef stew with umhluzi and pap.
Image: Craig Fraser

Shoppers are right: food has become more expensive. But there are exceptions, which savvy or cash-strapped consumers can capitalise on.

Ahead of Thursday's interest rate announcement by the SA Reserve Bank, data recently released by Stats SA shows that annual consumer price inflation fell to its lowest reading since September 2004, dragged lower mainly by falling fuel prices.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures the prices of a range of consumer goods and services, increased by 2.1% in May 2020 compared with May 2019. The reading for September 2004, 15 years and eight months ago, was 1.3%.

The main contributors to the 2.1% annual inflation rate were food and nonalcoholic beverages; housing and utilities; transport; and miscellaneous goods and services. Food and nonalcoholic beverages increased by 4.4% year on year. Housing and utilities increased by 4,5% year on year. Transport decreased by 8.4% year on year.

Meat prices climbed by 5.5% over the past 12 months, but registered a 0.1% fall between April and May.

Stewing beef prices are 2.1% lower than they were in April.

Prices of dairy products climbed by 3.7% from April and by 7.1% from May 2019. The oils and fats index rose by 2.3% from April, recording an annual rise of 8.3%.

Margarine prices saw a monthly increase of 3.6%.

Peanut butter was 5.8% more expensive in May compared with April, recording an annual rise of 16.3%.

Decreases were seen across most nonalcoholic beverage products with an overall month-on-month price drop of 2.4%.

Prices for hot beverages, such as tea and coffee, fell by 1.9% between April and May, with instant coffee prices in particular declining by 4.2%.

Cold beverage prices fell by 2.7% over the same period.

The Reserve Bank cut interest rates by 50 basis points in May, in a bid to bring further relief to SA’s battered economy, most of which is still under lockdown. The cut took the rate to 3.75%. The Sarb had also announced a 100 bps cut in April.