Biltong up, chocolate down
  • Since the beginning of 2017, the price of biltong has increased by almost 20%, according to a new analysis of inflation data.
  • During the same period the price of chocolate slabs went down slightly.
  • Chips are also getting more expensive – but not nearly as fast as biltong.

Between January 2017 and November of last year, the average price of biltong increased by nearly 20%, according to a new analysis of inflation data for snacks from South African Market Insights.

During that same nearly two-year period, the average price of a slab of chocolate decreased by 1.4%, even while the annual average inflation in South Africa over that period, as measured by the consumer price index (CPI), was around 4.5%.

"So guess at the next braai or dinner there will be less biltong served and more chocolates being provided, the economic insight website said wryly of its finding.

Read the full analysis from South African Market Insights: The inflation rate of various snacks in South Africa over time

South African Market Insights used the detailed data compiled by Statistics South Africa in calculating CPI to compare the inflation recorded in the prices of biltong, chocolate, savoury biscuits and potato crisps, or chips. 

During the 2018 year up to November, the last data available, it found that biltong had increased in price by 8.6%, while chocolate slabs were just slightly cheaper, at a 0.3% decrease. The effect was considerably magnified when tracking numbers since the beginning of 2017, however, with the biltong price increasing by 19.47% while chocolate slabs were 1.4% cheaper.

Chips and savoury biscuits fell in between those two extremes, at price increases of 12.2% and 6.8% respectively since the beginning of 2017.

At least one US company believes biltong is the perfect high-protein snack, while a South African company has promised to create a favourite mass-market biltong brand.  

Demand for chocolate has been strong around the world in recent years, but cocoa suppliers have largely kept up, keeping global price increases relatively muted.

Over the same period a severe drought hit red meat prices in South Africa hard. Although beef prices have come down from the peak seen in June 2018, A-grade beef was still some 16.4% more expensive at the end of 2018 than it had been at the beginning of 2017, according to weekly prices published by the Red Meat Producers Organisation.

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