Food price increases linked to retail value chain

South Africa’s Competition Commission, which is keeping an eagle eye on food prices, says it has attributed recent price increases to the retail sector.

The commission’s focus intensified after the Covid-19 lockdowns last year, and widespread complaints about food price escalations. It developed quarterly food price monitoring reports, which track the impact on food markers of the pandemic and the resultant economic crisis.

The latest Essential Food Price Monitoring report said meat markets have generally shown steady increases in retail prices since the first wave of the pandemic. These increases were not seen in the same degree in wholesale meat prices.

It said this trend had continued throughout 2020 and into 2021, and it used beef as an example. While producer price index beef prices remained relatively constant, with a slight increasing trend since November 2020, retail beef products have shown considerable price movements.

“These price movements have also been observed in the updated meat market data across other meat product categories such as mutton/lamb, chicken and fish, where the wholesale prices have remained fairly stable while retail prices have shown increases overall,” the commission said.

It noted that the spread between these prices had therefore also trended upwards or remained at higher levels than seen before April 2020. 

As this Bulletin has noted previously, it’s not the farmers who are making the profits.