Sunflower oil, tomatoes are 30% pricier than a year ago, and other food prices also rocketed

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Sunflower oil. Photo: Getty
Sunflower oil. Photo: Getty

A new analysis by Statistics SA shows how some food prices have rocketed over the past year, with the price of sunflower oil increasing by more than 30% between May last year and May 2021.

The average price of a 750ml bottle of sunflower oil was R20,99 a year ago, rising to R29,39 in May, Stats SA reported.

Tomatoes are also more than 30% pricier.

Heavy rains at the start of the year in the Limpopo valley have ruined tomato harvests, and wreaked havoc on supplies in the country. This has resulted in a price squeeze.

Source: Statistics SA

Sweet potato prices (up 17% over the past year) have also rocketed.

Statistics SA reports that dried beans (+27%) and beef offal (18%) also saw large gains, while chocolate bars grew almost 17% pricier.

Surprisingly, white wine prices rose by more than 13%, despite predictions that prices would fall as the SA industry warned of surplus stock of 300 million litres of wine following the alcohol sales bans. This is the equivalent of total wine sales in the country in the past year.

Rising food prices are not restricted to South Africa – the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reported that global food prices by their fastest monthly rate in more than a decade in May. This is due to strong demand from importers like China, as well as weak harvests in some commodities, like sugar.

In South Africa, higher food prices have contributed to an annual inflation rate of 5.2% in May, compared to 4.4% in April. This is the highest reading since November 2018.

Fuel prices, which are 37% more expensive than it was a year ago, also contributed to higher food prices in SA.

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