South African Competition Commission Releases Essential Food Price Monitoring Report

South African Competition Commission Releases Essential Food Price Monitoring Report
Photo: 07.05.2024 570

Despite a lower food inflation in South Africa, food prices are still rising at a rate that may threaten food security.

Food prices are stabilising, with food inflation at 5.1% in March, the lowest rate since September 2020, but food prices are still increasing at a rate which may be a threat to food security. In addition, cost pressures stemming from load shedding and transport have not abated and the impact of drought conditions is likely to add to pressures throughout the value chain.

According to the latest edition of the Essential Food Pricing Monitoring (EFPM) Report released by the Competition Commission on Monday, there are indications that spreads across food value chains are beginning to settle following periods of intense volatility covered in previous editions of the report, despite ongoing load shedding, the deteriorating rail and port situation and sporadic disturbances in global shipping markets following the conflict in the Red Sea.

The Commission continued to monitor the price of essential food items identified by the public, sunflower oil, brown bread, eggs, individually quick frozen chicken and maize meal.

According to the report, the 2023 avian flu outbreak resulted in a lower supply for consumers and a substantial 66% increase in the price of eggs from April 2023 through November 2023. The supply of eggs has since shown signs of recovery on the supermarket shelves since December 2023.

The avian flu has also affected the price of poultry, leading the government to allow imports of 30 986 metric tons of poultry meat as a safety measure to stabilise the supply of chicken during the HPAI outbreak.

There is a stabilization of prices for sunflower oil and brown bread. The popularity of canned pilchard is growing as a source of protein, which due to convenient packaging is easy to store as the cans are easy to stack, do not need refrigeration and give consumers some flexibility regarding their purchasing patterns. In addition, consumers are attracted by the wide range of canned pilchard available in various flavors and by its affordability, as this product is zero-rated for value-added tax (VAT). 

According to the researchers these features suggest that pilchards will continue to be important in the food baskets of low-income consumers and may act as an important buffer when there are shocks in the supply of the other more popular protein sources.

Source: The Citizen

food markets  South Africa 

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