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South African Price Guide: What do groceries cost in different parts of the world?

shops zero-rated VAT car guard shopping cart groceries

What’s more interesting is how even though South Africa falls below the “average” salary when compared to these countries, our food prices are either in the middle or higher tiers.

 

There is a meme rapidly being shared on social media showing how South Africa’s basket of goods has become less over the years (for the same amount of money) while European countries have “stayed” the same.

This got us thinking… what do basic groceries cost around the world? And is it “that” different if we look at different countries.

We know that prices differ because complex variants… the differences in economies, the strength of the currencies, import and export costs, whether the food is locally grown and taxation to name a few but what if we tried to compare “apples” with “apples”.

We randomly selected 8 countries (South Africa and 7 others) and randomly selected 10 goods from the top 40 most bought groceries globally and compared prices.

We also compared the “average” salaries in each country selected to try understand the buying power behind the grocery price… again taking into account that the difference in an average medium salary also depends on many variables including unemployment and poverty (the USA has around 3,9% unemployed with 12,7 poverty and France have 8,9% unemployed with 2% poverty while South Africa has 26% unemployment with 52% poverty).

Average Salaries of country per month:

  • India – R1838,81
  • South Africa – R6045,58
  • China – R9101,45
  • Mexico – R9961,32
  • France – R42689,50
  • UK – R46711,07
  • Finland – R49647,87
  • America – R62678,29 per month

The products that were randomly selected were Bananas, Beef (or Buffalo in India), Chicken Breasts, Eggs, Bread, Cheese, Milk, Potatoes, Tomatoes and Rice.

Check out the list below (we’ve converted all prices to rands to give you an easier way to compare):

Bananas (1kg)

  • India – R9,24
  • Mexico – R10,30
  • China – R13,53
  • South Africa – R17,18
  • UK –  R17,61
  • America – R19,34
  • Finland – R22,84
  • France – R28,66

Beef (1kg)

  • India – R57,45
  • Mexico – R80,01
  • South Africa – R88,46
  • UK – R134,35
  • China – R139,25
  • America – R149,40
  • Finland – R205,94
  • France – R239,84

Chicken Breasts – boneless and skinless (1kg)

  • India R40,56
  • China R49,67
  • Mexico R52,18
  • South Africa R66,25
  • UK R101,94
  • America R112,01
  • Finland R139,69
  • France R150,50

Eggs – regular (12)

  • India – R11,79
  • Mexico – R16,05
  • China – R22,16
  • South Africa – R25,86
  • Finland – R26,69
  • America – R31,03
  • UK – R32,72
  • France – R39,51

Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)

  • India – R5,52
  • South Africa – R12,49
  • Mexico – R16,42
  • UK – R16,83
  • China – R19,86
  • France – R21,16
  • Finland – R26,31
  • America – R33,40

Local Cheese (1kg)

  • Mexico – R58,92
  • India – R61,51
  • Finland – R90,19
  • South Africa – R93,18
  • UK – R94,77
  • America – R139,63
  • China – R192,03
  • France – R229,00

Milk – regular (1 litre)

  • India – R8,70
  • Mexico – R10,46
  • America – R10,98
  • South Africa – R13,57
  • Finland – R14,13
  • France – R14,70
  • UK – R15,55
  • China – R25,34

Potato (1kg)

  • India – R4,27
  • Mexico – R11,89
  • China – R12,16
  • Finland – R13,28
  • South Africa – R16,77
  • UK – R20,19
  • France – R22,68
  • America – R31,77

Tomato (1kg)

  • India – R6,33
  • Mexico – R11,69
  • China – R15,56
  • Finland – R43,30
  • South Africa – R18,01
  • UK – R31,15
  • France – R36,42
  • America – R51,48

White Rice (1kg)

  • India – R9,55
  • Mexico – R11,10
  • China – R12,17
  • Finland – R27,14
  • South Africa – R19,68
  • UK – R22,26
  • France – R25,93
  • America – R51,20

The differences are incredibly interesting, knowing that America pay more than double for bread, rice and tomatoes when compared to South Africa. While China, who earn an average salary closer to South Africa, pay almost double for Milk.

What’s more interesting is how even though South Africa falls below the “average” salary when compared to these countries, our food prices are either in the middle or higher tiers.

What’s your feeling on food in SA? Are the prices burning a hole in our pockets?


Sources: World Data | Numbeo |
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Brent Lindeque is the founder and man in charge at Good Things Guy. Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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