A Facebook user recently posted about the surprise that he received when he saw the cost of potatoes at a local supermarket.
According to post, the cost of a 10kg bag of Up-To-Date (UTD) potatoes was R250 at the supermarket that he visited.
Commenting on the post, people expressed their shock at seeing the current cost of potatoes, with one person saying that whenever it is fasting month for the Hindu community, the cost of vegetables is always high.
Another person on the social media platform complained that the potatoes are more expensive than meat and said that prices of other vegetables also increase when it is fasting time for the Hindu community.
Purtassi and Pithar Pak which usually takes place during this time of the year, is a time period when the Hindu community fasts and only eats vegetables. UTD potatoes are a popular type of potato that is found in many Indian households because it is a soft-cooking potato.
According to Potatoes Africa, UTD potatoes are considered to have a good eating quality and it is a floury cooking type. UTD potatoes are considered as a good all-rounder type of potato that is preferred by housewives.
At some of the major retailers, UTD potatoes can cost between R110.99 and R120 for a 7kg bag of potatoes, while a 10kg bag can cost between R230 and R269.99. While smaller fruit and vegetables shops will charges R100 for a 7kg bag of potatoes and R190 for a 10kg bag of potatoes.
While it is noticeable that buying UTD potatoes can have a significant impact on the pocket of consumers, has there been an increase in the cost of potatoes across the board?
According to PMBEJD Household Affordability Index, potatoes are one of the core food staple in South African households. This means that potatoes are a prioritised and are one of the many food items that are bought first by consumers.
According to the index, for August 2023, the cost of a 10kg bag of potatoes was R105.26, a slight increase compared July 2023 where are 10kg bag of potatoes cost R103.09.
From a year-on-year perspective, there has been a significant increase in the cost of potatoes. In August 2022, the cost of a 10kg bag of potatoes was R72.53.
While it is expected that inflation will have an impact of the cost of grocery and food items like potatoes, there are other factors that can influence the cost of potatoes.
According to Wikus Olivier, managing director, CreditSmart Financial Services, the other factors that have an impact on the cost of grocery items include: market demand, pricing strategy of the brand, production processes, maintaining profit margins and production costs.