• Sun. Sep 19th, 2021

Bad news for the poor, as household food basket survey shows another increase

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According to the Household Food Basket survey that forms part of the Household Affordability Index created by the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group, the cost of the average household food basket increased by R9,19 (0,2%), from R4,128.23 in June 2021 to R4,137.43 in July 2021.

Over the past 11 months, the cost of the average household food basket increased by R281.09 (7,3%) from R3,856.34 in September 2020 to R4,137.43 in July 2021. The basket was designed with women living on low incomes in Johannesburg (Soweto, Alexandra, Tembisa and Hillbrow), Cape Town (Gugulethu, Philippi, Khayelitsha, Langa, Delft, Dunoon), Durban (KwaMashu, Umlazi, Isipingo, Durban CBD and Mtubatuba) and Springbok (Northern Cape) and Pietermaritzburg.

The basket includes the foods and volumes women living in a family of seven tell us they typically try to buy each month. It is considered a reasonable proxy for a food basket which women identified as including the most important typical foods most households try and buy each month.

The women collected food price data from 44 supermarkets and 30 butcheries that target the low-income market for 44 foods in the basket.

ALSO READ: Poor people unable to afford nutritious food – survey

The average cost of the foods the women buy first increased by R23.46 (1%) from R2,240.15 in June 2021 to R2,263.60 in July 2021 and over the past 11 months by R197.89 (9,6%) from R2,065.71 in September 2020 to R2,263.60 in July 2021.

The group says the cost of the foods the women prioritise and buy first is important, because they buy the core foods first to ensure that families do not go hungry while ensuring that meals can be cooked.

“When the prices of core foods increase, there is less money to secure other important, mostly nutritionally-rich foods, which are essential for health and well-being and strong immune systems, such as meat, eggs and dairy, vegetables and fruit as well as Maas, peanut butter and pilchards, that contain essential nutrients for children.”

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The group’s data shows that the core foods contribute 55% of the total cost of the basket and at an average cost of R2, 263.60 in July 2021, these foods are relatively very expensive in relation to the total money available in the household purse to buy food. These foods must be bought regardless of price escalations, but the high cost of core staple foods result in a lot of proper nutritious food removed off the family plate.

The cost of a basic nutritional food basket for a family of 7 decreased by R37.77 (-0,8%) from R4,994.37 in June 2021 to R4,956.60 in July 2021, but over the past eleven months it increased by R182.05 (3,8%), from R4,774.55 in September 2020 to R4,956.60 in July 2021.

The average cost to feed a child a basic nutritious diet decreased by R5.34 (-0,7%) from R729.05 in June 2021 to R723.71 in July 2021. Over the past 11 months, it increased by R27.98 (4%) from R695.74 in September 2020 to R723.71 in July 2021.

The cost of a basic nutritional food basket for a family of seven decreased by R37.77 (-0,8%) from R4,994.37 in June 2021 to R4,956.60 in July 2021 and over the past eleven months it increased by R182.05 (3,8%) from R4,774.55 in September 2020 to R4,956.60 in July 2021.

ALSO READ: South Africans paying nearly 5% more for basic food items – index



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