Quarterly Food Price Monitor: May 2011


The April 2011 Consumer Price Index (CPI) released by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) showed that food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation increased by 4.8 % between April 2010 and April 2011. Headline CPI increased by 4.2 % between April 2010 and April 2011. The food and nonalcoholic beverages index decreased from March 2011 to April 2011, from 5 % to 4.8 % while headline inflation increased from 4.1 % in March 2011 to 4.2 % in April 2011. The annual increase of 4.8 % in the food and non-alcoholic beverages index was largely driven by the annual increases in oils and fats (22.7 %), meat (8.3 %) and sugar (6.3 %). The prices of processed food products increased by 5.1 % from April 2010 to April 2011 and the price of unprocessed food products increased by 4.8 % over the same period. 

At the retail level, urban consumers paid R 7.30 for a 700g loaf of brown bread and R 8.23 for a loaf of 700g white bread during April 2011, a 4.29 % and 6.61 % increase respectively compared to April 2010. Urban consumers paid 2.99 % more for a super maize meal (5kg) and 7.49 % less for special maize meal (5kg) in April 2011 than during April 2010 at the retail level. Sunflower cooking oil prices showed the largest price increases of all retail food products reported on in both urban and rural areas. 

Rural consumers paid R 11.44 more than urban consumers for the same food basket, a significantly lower price difference than usually reported. 

During February 2011, the FAO global food price index reached its peak of 237.2 index points. In March, the food price index decreased for the first time in 8 months. From March to April, the food price index showed a slight increase again and reached 232.1 index points. 

From April 2010 to April 2011, the cost of a basic food basket used by the NAMC increased by about R 12.28 (+3.3 %) in nominal terms. The cost of this food basket, expressed as a share of the average monthly income of the poorest 30 % of the population, increased from 33.0 % in April 2010 to 34.1 % in April 2011. The cost of the food basket, expressed as a share of the average monthly income of the wealthiest 30 % of the population, increased slightly from 2.6 % to 2.7 %.