- In just one week, the price of pineapples jumped 74% after a ban on liquor sales was implemented.
- Demand has increased too, but volumes have also risen over 20% in the same period.
- Prices for the fruit may remain on the rise should the alcohol sales ban persist.
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Pineapple prices shot up over 70% in just one week as some South Africans, hit with a 14-day ban on alcohol sales, returned to brewing their beer at home.
During the week through to 5 July, the same week a ban on alcohol sales was instated, pineapple prices surged 74% to R7.32 per kilogram, Johnny van der Merwe, managing director of agricultural information group Agrimark Trends (AMT), said on Thursday.
In his weekly update that tracks the market prices for fresh produce in South Africa, Van der Merwe said the alcohol ban has not only caused a price spike but has created pent-up demand for pineapples.
"We… saw that pineapple prices increased significantly with demand higher due to the alcohol ban," Van der Merwe said.
"Pineapple prices were boosted by the alcohol sale ban restrictions, increasing by 74% week on week to R7.32 with volumes sold increasing by 27% week on week," he said.
With no alcohol sales allowed during the current level four lockdown, some South Africans have turned to pineapples for their beer. Pineapples are high in yeast and sugary. Its sugary content and the yeast, the main ingredient in beer making, can make an alcoholic drink.
Should the alcohol prohibitions persist beyond Sunday, prices are expected to remain elevated or rise further, Deon van Zyl, COO of Grow Fresh Produce, market agents for the Johannesburg Market, told Business Insider South Africa.
Van Zyl also said there had been an increase in pineapple prices and heightened demand for the fruit since the government reinstated the liquor restrictions at the end of June, although not as elevated as the price increases of the previous bans.
"I think people were… a little more prepared this time, and it’s [the liquor ban] hopefully only for two weeks. If they continue the lockdown after Sunday, we should see quite a drastic incline in price, definitely," said Van Zyl.
Van Zyl said that while the price and demand spikes can be attributed to the new lockdown restrictions, there are a combination of factors influencing them.
"It also has to do with month-end. The demand is a little bit higher at month-end. It is a bit of all those factors; we will see the real effect of the alcohol ban or alcohol lockdown should it continue Sunday. We'll start to see it from next week," he said.