I recently listened to a podcast on food inflation in South Africa; it was an interview by the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (Pacsa) talking about its food barometer for January 2017. Year-on-year – in January 2017, the Pacsa food basket increased by 16.47% as compared to January 2016. I further read an article on BusinessTech providing additional data on the Pacsa’s findings.
Below is a listing of the top ten major increases in the Pacsa barometer are as follows:
- Chicken neck – 77%
- Sugar Beans – 40%
- Chicken feet – 39%
- Maize Meal – 36%
- Chicken pieces – 34%
- White Sugar – 32%
- Samp – 28%
- Curry Powder – 27%
- Rooibos tea bag – 22%
- Coffee, Salt – 15%
The increases are astonishing as thirty (30) out of thirty-six (36) measured foods increased in January 2017 Barometer. Six (6) of the top ten increases are none perishables, and most being a necessity in all household.
It is no wonder when taking the above into account; that I was excited when my wife indicated that with four of her friends, they have decided to form a Grocery Stokvel (in 2017). The plan is that each member will contribute R300 a month with the ultimate aim of buying none perishable goods at the end of the year and distribute amongst themselves. Some quick numbers: R300 x 5 x 11 = R16,500.00
As the saying goes, there is nothing new under the sun, the same applies to the Grocery Stokvel; this is not a new phenomenon, research published in 2012 indicated that there are five major types of Stokvel, amongst the top three are Saving Stokvel which accounts to 43%, Burial Stokvel a further 22% and Grocery Stokvel taking the third spot with a 16% market share. This shows the important of the Grocery Stokvel market. The same research further indicates that three categories of groceries bought are staples (83%), cooking products (79%) and washing powders 78%).
Having identified six (6) of the ten (10) items on the Pacsa increases are none perishable goods, it is no wonder the grocery stokvel becomes a winning formula – for me (and many other individuals). In 1990 the then Governor, Mr. Tito Mboweni mentioned that the growth of stokvels post the stock fair era has been associated with the need for survival strategies and to mobilize financial resources in a bid to cope with economic oppression.
The statement by the then Governor is even true today with the current economic climate South Africa is facing. This might be one of many strategies consumers have to introduce to stay above the water. The Presidency in 1999 further acknowledged the safety net provided by stokvels and how they serve as a critical component for a cohesive society based on their ability to provide for both financial and social capital.
Nonetheless, I know many grocery chain stores that will be happy to welcome these ladies to their stores and share the December bargains with them (take their money – to be bluntly) – for instance Massmart who are the owners of Jumbo and Makro acknowledges the need to look after the stokvel segment by stating that its wholesale chains will “continue paying special attention” to stokvels by providing concessions such as bulk discounts, pro active collection of orders and arranging affordable transport to the stokvel community.
A luta continua, vitória é certa