veggies
Andrew Thompson
  • It’s no secret that buying pre-chopped vegetables cost more. But it can be a lot more.
  • We compared chopped vs unprocessed prices for vegetables – on the same shelves of the same stores – and found some supermarkets more than double the price of veggies after chopping them up.
  • The harder the vegetable is to chop the higher the markup is likely to be.
  • For more stories go to Business Insider South Africa.

Some South Africa supermarkets are moving towards vegetables that don't come in any packaging at alland will charge you less if you bring your own container

But ready-to-cook vegetables, chopped and bagged up for convenience, are now standard across all major supermarkets.

It’s no secret that these processed items cost more – but quite how much you pay for that convenience may come for a shock.

Unusual packet sizes and the omission of prices per kilogram on packaged and whole goods (which are markedly cheaper when compared on a per kilogram basis) can make it difficult to compare during a quick shop. 

In some cases, Business Insider South Africa found, supermarkets more than double the price of their produce by chopping it into pieces. 

Items quick and easy to cut, like mushrooms, usually attract lower markups, our comparison showed. The harder the vegetable is to chop – butternut being a prime example – or the greater the number of slices required – such as for sweet potato – the higher the markup is likely to be.

This is what you pay to have your vegetables pre-chopped at Pick n Pay, Woolworths, and Checkers.

Pick ’n Pay: 71% to 200%

vegetables
Packed veggies from Pick n Pay.

Our local Pick n Pay offers sweet potato and butternut diced, and broccoli and cauliflower washed and cut.

Here's how those compare:

Sweet potato

Diced: R49.98 per kilogram

Whole: R19.99 per kilogram

Cost for cutting: R29.99, or 150%


Butternut

Diced: R42 per kilogram (though you can get it R34 per kilogram in bulk packages)

Whole: R13.99 per kilogram 

Cost for cutting: R28.01, or 200%


Broccoli

Cut and washed: R73.30 per kilogram

Whole: R42.99 per kilogram

Cost for cutting: R30.31, or 71%


Woolworths: 7% to 159%

veggies
Chopped vegetables.

Woolworths offers sweet potato in four different formats: whole, sliced, diced, and as rounds. It also does different versions of butternut, which it will both dice and cut into rounds for your convenience. At the cheaper end, it slices up button mushrooms.

Here's how those compare.

Button mushrooms

Sliced: R115.96 per kilogramWhole: R107.96 per kilogram

Cost for cutting: R8, or 7%


Sweet potato

Diced: R48 per kilogram (though you can get it for R36.99 in bulk)

Rounds: R49.98 per kilogram

Sliced: R41 per kilogram

Whole: R21.99 per kilogram

Cost for dicing: R26.01, or 118%

Cost for slicing: R19.01, or 86.4%

Cost for cutting into rounds: R27.99, or 127%


Butternut

Diced: R44 per kilogram (though you can get it for R36.99 in bulk)

Rounds: R39.98 per kilogram

Whole: R16.99 per kilogram

Cost for dicing: R27.01, or 159%

Cost for cutting into rounds: R22.99, or 135%


Broccoli

Cut and washed: R61.41 per kilogram

Whole: R44.99 per kilogram

Cost for cutting: R16.42, or 37%


Cauliflower

Cut and washed: R61.41 per kilogram

Whole: R48.99 per kilogram

Cost for cutting: R12.42, or 25%


Checkers: 140% to 227%

butternut
Butternut on special – making it even cheaper than usual compared to the prepared version. (Andrew Thompson)

Our local Checkers offered pre-cutting only on butternut and sweet potato, though it both slices and dices the sweet potato.

Here's how those compare.

Sweet potato

Diced: R31.24 per kilogram

Sliced: R34.99 per kilogram

Whole: R12.99 per kilogram

Cost for dicing: R18.25, or 140%

Cost for slicing: R22, or 169%


Butternut

Diced: R35.98 per kilogram

Whole: R10.99 per kilogram

Cost for dicing: R24.99, or 227%


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