The Outlier’s Grocery Basket: July 2023

  • The average cost for our basket of 12 staple items in July was R480, which is slightly cheaper than last month
  • Based on our basket, there’s a price difference of R84 between the most expensive and the cheapest retailers
  • The price of sunflower oil is one of the main reasons for this

It’s normal for grocery prices to fluctuate from month to month – and some months reflect wider changes than others. For example, the average price of our July grocery basket is slightly lower than it was in June – R480.81 versus R483.20 – but there is also a much bigger difference between the cheapest and most expensive baskets. 

Based on our basket of 12 basic items, Woolworths was the most expensive retailer in July 2023 at R510.88. All the other retailers in our survey came in at under R500. 

This chart was updated on 2 August 2023. An earlier version of this chart had a truncated x-axis which gave an exaggerated view of the price differences.

Ups and downs

In July there was an R84 difference between the cheapest and most expensive baskets, whereas in June the difference was R54.89. We take a look at what’s behind that R30 difference. 

First off, Makro’s basket price decreased by a substantial R24.09 and Spar’s increased by R14. Those were the two biggest fluctuations.

Turns out, this is all thanks to the price of oil at Makro, where sunflower oil in July was R15 cheaper than it was in June. At Woolworths, sunflower oil increased by R7, which accounts for the R8 increase in the overall basket price.

At Spar, cake flour was the cause of its basket price increase. In June flour was R39.99 and in July it had risen to R49.99.

Since June 2023, we’ve been tracking the prices of 12 basic items across eight of South Africa’s biggest retailers. This is up from the 9 items from four retailers that we started with a year ago. We made the changes in response to feedback from shoppers, retailers and other experts.


Previous reports, methodology and a full price-comparison table

Branded basics

The price difference across brands of two other basic items – sugar and maize meal – also tell their own story.

The cheapest 2.5kg packet of white sugar we found was Food Lover’s Market’s store brand, which cost R44.99. This was followed by a packet of Hullets-branded sugar at Woolworths for R53.99. 

A 2.5kg packet of Shibobo maize meal at Boxer was R31.99. That was the cheapest brand we could find at the eight stores we looked at. Pick n Pay’s Pride maize meal was the priciest at R49.99, which was R18 more expensive than Boxer’s.


  • Visit the Grocery Basket Survey page for a detailed breakdown of our methodology,
    insight into the changes we’ve made – and why, as well as a full set of monthly prices in table format
  • If you wish to reproduce or quote any part of this project and data please contact us at The scope of this project is limited so while we are happy for others to reference it, we do want to be sure that the intention and results are not misrepresented in any way that suggests it is more than it is

Additional data collection by Gemma Ritchie, Mamaili Mamaila and Laura Grant