• We've tracked the prices for 21 key items to make your Heritage Day braai a success from 2019.
  • Our list is centred on things that do not change between stores, or from year to year.
  • For the most part, there were few price increases from last year.
  • And in some cases, items are even cheaper than in 2019 - provided you know where to look.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.


Covid-19 has made the traditional Heritage Day braai a tougher financial prospect for many, but there is good news: if you shop around, you could actually land much of your braai kit for less money than last year.

In 2019 Business Insider South Africa looked at the prices of basic braai essentials at South Africa’s four largest supermarkets, with a focus on the stuff that doesn't change between stores.

Given the high variability of meat quality and prices, especially at in-house butchery levels, we’ve omitted these from the comparison, save for the slightly more predictable pork sausage and chicken breasts.

We do, however, include multiple brands for some products, where they have strong followings.

When we went back to check prices this year, we were pleasantly surprised, even though direct comparisons can be tricky.

This year there were some anomalies that made comparisons difficult - like variations in package sizes of certain items between leading retailers. 

Charcoal, for example, varies by as much as one kilogram depending on where you buy it from, and large chip packets by 5 grams from retailer to retailer.

Some supermarkets have also stopped stocking some of the goods we tracked last year, or have significantly changed the quantity of containers, and in instances where a comparison is difficult or unfair, these items have been omitted.

Even so, Business Insider South Africa was able to compare most items to last year’s prices - and on the whole, many of them were largely the same price as in 2019, or in some cases, even cheaper.

Here's how the big chain stores compared to one another – and themselves a year ago – when it comes to braai essentials.

Braai index, 2020

Pick n Pay

At Pick n Pay, skinless chicken breasts and Cerebos salt are R5 cheaper than last year, while Charka Briquettes were R5.99 cheaper.

There were also some marginal drops in the prices of some maize meal, chips, and soft drinks at Pick n Pay.

The most significant price increase at Pick n Pay will only hurt chutney lovers, who will now pay R3 more for their jar compared to last year.

Spar

Spar remained competitively priced across the board, though it saw no major price drops in key products, apart from Cerebos salt, which was R9 cheaper than last year.

Pork sausages and skinless chicken breasts were significantly more expensive than last year. But given Spar’s more flexible store pricing policies and varying brands, these may differ from branch to branch.

On first look charcoal at Spar has also come down drastically, but don’t be fooled: last year you were getting a bigger bag. The difference is actually a saving of just 45c per kilogram.

Checkers

Checkers, once the darling of low-cost groceries, has seen incremental increases across almost all braai items compared to 2019. 

We found no drastic price drops between this year and last, apart from a marked difference in skinless chicken breasts, which are R12 cheaper. For the most part items remained close to 2019 prices. The notable exceptions were Charka Briquettes (R5 more expensive), pork sausages (R9 more expensive), and sauces and chutneys, which are between R3 and R5 more expensive.

Shoprite

Shoprite too has not seen marked price decreases over previous years. Chicken breasts and firelighters are R5 and R3 more expensive than last year respectively. The biggest increase comes in the charcoal department, where a 4kg bag of Charka Briquettes now costs R12 more than it did last year.

If Pepsi is your thing, then Shoprite is the place to go; a 2-litre bottle there is R7 cheaper than in 2019. But the remainder of the products we could price had remained much the same - or increased only marginally - over last year’s prices.

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