Grocery shopping: This SA supermarket is cheapest

Price comparisons of a basket of products at four supermarkets show one retailer to be cheaper for almost all items. Picture: Greta Hoffman/Pexels

Price comparisons of a basket of products at four supermarkets show one retailer to be cheaper for almost all items. Picture: Greta Hoffman/Pexels

Published Aug 24, 2023


With food prices increasing and South Africans looking to stretch their rands as far as they can, grocery shopping has become a strategic exercise.

Some consumers shop for fruit and vegetables at one store, general grocery items at another, and meat at particular butcheries.

They also take into account travel times to certain stores, convenience of the respective shopping experiences, and the quality of the products they buy at each of the retailers.

Whether one shops monthly, weekly, or daily for their food items will also play a part in helping them decide where to shop; the longer the shopping list, the less difference there often is in the overall cost.

If you are shopping for just a few items, however, it may make sense to look for the retailers that offer your needed products at the cheapest prices. To give you an idea of how prices differ from one retailer to another, IOL has drawn up a comparative table of product prices at Checkers, Pick ‘n Pay, Spar, and Woolworths.

To make the comparisons as balanced as possible, prices were obtained from each of the retailers’ national online shopping portals. This is because the prices of some items tend to differ between franchises.

While efforts were made to compare the costs of matching brands, there were four instances – brown bread, white bread, eggs, cheese – where Woolworths’ house brand items needed to be used as the retailer does not stock the brands that the other stores do. There were also a few items where the prices had to be sourced from individual Spar stores as they were not available on the online shopping portal.

Some grocery items were on special at some stores with the use of loyalty cards, but these reduced prices were not used for the purpose of the comparisons.

Price comparisons were not made for meat products as the retailers do not stock equivalent brands, quality, or even weights of items.

Of the 15 products included in the random grocery basket, Spar was found to be the cheapest for 11 items. Checkers came out tops for three products, Pick ‘n Pay for one, and Woolworths for four. In some cases, more than one of the retailers carried the same cheapest selling price.

Overall, Spar was the cheapest for the basket, followed by Woolworths, Checkers, and then Pick ‘n Pay. The price difference between Spar and Pick ‘n Pay was R76,49.

Data released by Stats SA this week shows that the annual inflation rate for food and non-alcoholic beverages dropped to 9.9 percent in July, from 11 percent in June.

These products saw a drop in food prices last month:

  • Bread and cereals
  • Maize meal
  • Meat

These products saw prices increase last month, compared to June:

  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Instant coffee
  • Sugar

IOL Business