VAT FREE Chicken

Vat-free chicken?


With the increases in Value Added Tax (VAT) to 15% the South African government should examine the basket of basic foodstuffs free of VAT – and add chicken to the mix.

This is the view of Chris Schutte, CEO of Astral Foods Limited, who says much has changed consumer landscape over last 25 years during which VAT has remained unchanged.

Chicken, for example, as the cheapest source of meat protein in SA, now forms a large part of the basic diet of the country’s population, with consumption close to 40kg per person per year.

He says that while the value proposition chicken offers makees it clear first choice With South African consumers the fact that it is not listed as a basic foodstuff and therefore zero-rated by Treasury is questionable, especially as the consumption of chicken far outstrips that of any other meat.

“Astral would support any discussion on reevaluating the basic foodstuffs market as chicken must be more accessible to the broader population as an important nutritional addition to meals. Nutritionally chicken is a cost competitive and beneficial meat protein source, and Astral believes that in addition to tinned fish products, chicken should be zero rated.”

A desktop study conducted by the company showed that a 100-gram serving of selected chicken cuts has more protein and energy than the equivalent serving of certain tinned fish products.

“We would like to stress that we are not looking for tinned fish to be removed from the basket of basic foodstuffs but believe a review of this basket is long overdue and that chicken should be included,” concludes Schutte.

Listeriosis poses reputational challenge

The perceptions of trading partners around the safety of food exports from South Africa has been negatively affected by the outbreak of listeriosis, which could have financial repercussions that extend far beyond the firms at the heart of the crisis.

This is according to Dr Rob Davies, the Minister and Industry, who told Parlaiment recent that South Africa has a significant reputational challenge that now needs to be confronted.

“Recovering from incidents like this is a massive challenge for companies concerned. They need to embrace it with a spirit of transparency. The same applies to us as a country,” Davies said.

According to the Department of Health, the outbreak – the worst in recorded history – has been responsible for 19=85 deaths since January 2017.