The April 2012 Consumer Price Index (CPI) released by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) showed
that food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation was 8.7 %. Headline CPI increased by 6.1 %
between April 2011 and April 2012. The previous Food Price Monitor (FPM) of February 2012
reported that the food and non-alcoholic beverages index increased by 10.3 % between January
2011 and January 2012. Since the last report, food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation increased
on a year-on-year basis by 9.6 % in February 2012 and 8.6 % in March 2012.
At the retail level, urban consumers paid R 8.23 for a 700g loaf of brown bread and R 9.19 for a
loaf of 700g white bread during April 2012, a 12.74 % and 11.66 % increase respectively compared
to April 2011. The domestic white maize price increased by 41.08 % compared to April 2011. At the
retail level urban consumers paid 34.60 % more for a super maize meal (5kg) and 56.01 % more
for special maize meal (5kg) in April 2012 compared to April 2011.
In April 2012, rural consumers paid R 14.89 more than urban consumers for the same food basket,
a figure higher than the R 2.37 reported in the previous FPM. In April 2012, rural consumers paid
R 8.24 more than urban consumers for maize meal (5kg), which is significantly higher than the
price difference reported in April 2011. A loaf of white bread, a loaf of brown bread, sunflower oil
750ml and Ceylon/black tea are the only food items for which rural consumers paid less than urban
consumers in April 2012.
The cost of the food basket, expressed as a share of the average monthly income of the poorest
30 % of the population, increased from 34.1% in April 2011 to 38.7% in April 2012, representing
the highest share during this analysis period. When comparing the costs associated with the typical
portion sizes of very poor consumers for the five most widely consumed food items in South Africa,
based on April 2012 versus April 2011 prices there was a significant inflation of about 20.2 % (from
R 3.15 to R 3.79 for the selection of portions).