That’s what it costs to (almost) fill your pantry


In the wake of the festive season, the so-called longest month of the year follows and most South Africans have a proper “January Worry” behind them this year. One of the reasons for this is because shopping in January was even more expensive than in previous months.

The latest Household Affordability Index report by the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group (PMBEJD) shows that it cost an average of R86.66 more to shop in January than in December.

The slight increase means that the price of essentials has once again become more expensive. Then there is not even talk of other necessities, such as children’s school clothes, which used to be very expensive.

According to PMBEJD’s latest report, tomatoes, potatoes and rice are among the items that cost consumers the most money. This is because a 6 kg bag of tomatoes costs almost R140 after it became 14% more expensive than in December.

In January, the price of potatoes rose by 13%, which means that a 10 kg bag will cost you almost R119. This is R13.64 more than last month.

The price of rice has also risen by 5%, maize flour is R12.45 more expensive compared to the previous month and vegetables such as spinach and green pepper are also more expensive by around R5.

A bag of frozen chicken portions of 10 kg was on average R8.83 more expensive in January compared to the previous month, bringing the price to R417.51.

There are some items in this month’s food basket that have become cheaper, such as flour which is R3.26 cheaper, and oranges which now cost consumers R14.72 less than last month.

White and brown bread are also cheaper. White bread now costs you R3.50 less and brown bread is R5.61 cheaper if bought in bulk.

Given the price adjustments, it costs an average of R5 324.86 to buy a food basket with just the basic items. Compared to the same period last year, it is R407.44 more expensive to shop now.

More expensive everywhere

In January, the price of a basket of food rose in most densely populated areas.

It was the most expensive to shop in Pietermaritzburg, costing you R203.74 (4%) more than last month.

Shopping in Durban was also R149,17 (2,9%) more expensive compared to the previous month, while those in Cape Town had to shell out R84,44 (1,6%) more for their shopping. The residents of Johannesburg also paid R13.68 (0.3%) more than in December.

Household and personal hygiene products

The index for household and personal hygiene products increased slightly in January. These are all products that are necessary for basic hygiene, but these products also compete with essential food items.

According to the report, the price of washing powder rose the most. A 3 kg bag costs R96.57 on average in January, which is R3.61 more than in December.

The cost of toothpaste is also R2.54 more, which means that three 100 ml containers now cost R62.77.

Deodorizer, roll-on and spray-on, is on average R3 cheaper.

The cost changes bring the average cost of household and personal hygiene products to R1 005,81; this is R6.22 (0.6%) more compared to the previous month.