COVID-19 NEWS: High Food Prices

Food prices have soared since the beginning of the national coronavirus lockdown and consumers have really been feeling the pinch.  Most essential goods have seen a substantial price increase between January and June this year and consumers are struggling to make ends meet. “On average I would say that it has actually doubled, especially on essential needs because for instance, I would spend R500 for basic stuff — your sugar, milk, butter, bread, eggs. The meat has become very expensive — it has doubled, things are getting expensive”, said Tiisetso Williams, a consumer with a family of six to feed.

Rice, for example, has increased with 49% from R27,69 a bag in January, to R41,49 in June.  A loaf of brown bread is now R13,32, compared to the R12,42 in January.   Elsie Jali, a grandmother taking care of her 15 grandchildren, is worried about the cost of food.“Lockdown has made food more expensive. I had R300 [and] … I only have R69 in change and I didn’t buy a lot of things, I couldn’t even buy meat or vegetables and the money is already finished,” she explained. “The lockdown has negatively impacted a lot of things, I have not been able to go work as a helper where I wash and iron since the end of March. I manage to survive only when my children send some money like now they sent R300 but it’s already finished and I didn’t buy a lot, I even had to buy a 1-ply tissue.”

Several other consumers have noted with alarm the significant increase and the impact it has on their budget.

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