Home Lifestyle LOOK: This is how much groceries and liquor cost in the ’90s

LOOK: This is how much groceries and liquor cost in the ’90s


OPINION: Unable to believe that his father could “feed the whole family with R100 back in the day”, multimedia journalist Jehran Naidoo has a look at what R100 could get you in the ’90s:

A Pick n Pay advert from 1998. Picture: Jehran Naidoo

I NEVER could quite understand what my father meant when he said: “You know back in my day, you could feed the whole family with R100”.

To me, that’s a myth, because R100 is just enough for a single meal nowadays.

R100 can’t buy you much at your local grocer nowadays. But what could your R100 get you in the ’90s?

A liquor advert from 1995. Picture: Jehran Naidoo

A team of us went through some archives and we found a copy of the Daily News from 1998 as well as a copy of the Rising Sun from 1995 to compare prices of goods from then to prices in 2023.

– A 750ml bottle of Bells Scotch Whiskey cost R32.95, while a bottle of Martell VO brandy cost just R22.95 in 1995.

Latest retail prices online show that a 750ml Bells Whiskey sells for R270 while the Martell VO brandy sells for around R200.

This equates to a near 10-fold increase in price over a period of about 25 years.

– In 1995, a 12-pack of 340ml Carling Black Label cans cost R16.95. It now costs around R150 to R170.

The Daily News issue from 1998 featured a number of adverts from Pick n Pay and Checkers.

– A dozen eggs in 1998 cost just R3.75, while a 750 gram Ricoffy cost R19.48 in 1998.

Today, a 750g tin of Ricoffy costs close to R140. Half a dozen eggs cost around R22 to R25, 18 eggs will set you back around R80 to R90 while 30 eggs will set you back close to R120, depending on the retailer and what grade the eggs are.

– A 1kg Cremora powder milk cost R11.98 and a 500g block of Mooi River Butter cost R7.58. Today, a 750 gram pack of Cremora costs around R55 while the Mooi River Butter has jumped to around R85.

Picture: Screenshot, Checkers website

– A pack of blue label Marie Biscuits was R2.18 in 1998 and costs close to R19 today.

By looking at these prices compared with the prices today, the average cost of goods increased almost 10 times since the late ’90s.

The fluctuations in the exchange rate between the rand and the United States dollar over the years also impacted the price of goods in our country as the rand steadily devalued.

In 1995, a dollar could buy you around R3.50, where as in 2023 a dollar can buy you R18.34, according to Bloomberg and Pound Sterling Live data.

According to the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity (PMBEJD) Household Affordability Index for January 2023, the average cost of the household food basket is R4,917.42.

Consumers are paying about R500 more for a basket of goods in 2023 than just a year prior, when it cost an average of R4,401.02 in 2022.

“The Joburg basket decreased by R3.73 (-0.1%) month-on-month, and increased by R439.10 (9.9%) year-on-year, to R4,873.28 in January 2023. The Durban basket increased by R58.99 (1.2%) month-on-month, and increased by R464.27 (10.3%) year-on-year, to R4,974.99 in January 2023,” the PMBEJD said.

“The Cape Town basket increased by R171.14 (3.6%) month-on-month, and increased by R644.49 (15%) year-on-year, to R4,948.47 in January 2023. The Cape Town basket experienced hikes in maize meal (up 6%) and oil (up 10%), and higher potato, meat and bread price.”

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