A recent research report on hunger and its relation to COVID-19 conducted by the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group, has revealed that families living in low income homes are now paying 30% more for groceries than before lockdown.
The PMBEJD Household Food Basket included average prices over five supermarkets and four butcheries.
According to the report, in the two months since lockdown started, a basket of basic household food goods increased by R249.92. The report has questioned how serious the government is about helping those in need during this time, while prices skyrocket.
These are the items that have surged in cost:
– Rice: 26%
– Cake flour: 3%
– White sugar: 6%
– Sugar beans: 18%
– Cooking oil: 11%
– White bread: 15%
– Brown bread: 14%
– Potatoes: 8%
– Onions: 58%
– Tomatoes: 12%
– Carrots: 22%
– Spinach: 13%
– Cabbage: 22%
The report also notes that food at home is running out quicker. With children and parents home all day, the frequency at which residents need to buy food has increased.
And parents may be spending as much as R500 more on extra food per month because of this. Overall, the research suggests that households spent as much as R724.01 more in May than they did two months ago, for the same items.
With little or no options available for consumers to afford groceries, many are turning to loaning money or buying on credit to make up for the increase in prices.
The research is modeled off communities in Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal, but the same strain and price increases are relevant to consumers across the country.