Consumers globally are feeling the pinch, with high inflation weighing heavily on their purchasing power. South African consumers have not been spared this fate – with inflation hitting them particularly hard at the grocery store.
Food inflation in South Africa fell to an 11 month low of 11% in June 2023, compared to 11.8% in May, according to StatsSA. This welcome news for consumers was however dulled by inflation not falling across the entire category; vegetables, fruit, sugar, sweets, and deserts bucked the trend, accelerating from 11.9% to 16.4% accordingly. This was the highest reading for the category since June 2017, and with vegetables and sugar being among the staple items in the consumer basket, price sensitive consumers will have less of a reprieve than was hoped for.
Everyone needs to eat, however, food is becoming less affordable for some, and it is increasingly evident that South African consumers are being stretched to the limit. Almost half of South African consumers (46%) surveyed, as part of Deloitte’s June 2023 Food Frugality Index, engaged in three or more frugal behaviours in the past two weeks just to make ends meet.
This is the highest display of frugality amongst all thirteen countries surveyed for the index; Canadian consumers placed second (37%) followed by Brazilian consumers at 36%.The Deloitte Food Frugality Index is a monthly, proprietary measure of behaviours associated with financial stress at the grocery store—and how they may be shaping the way consumers shop for food. It looks at a range of food frugality index behaviours, including trade-offs that consumers are making and what they are doing to economise.