R400 for a kilo of ginger? Retailers respond to root of skyrocketing prices

Consumers have been venting their frustrations on Twitter over the skyrocketing prices of ginger per kilogram.

There have been many images of customers sharing prices of ginger, with prices at R299 and R400 per kilo at some supermarkets.

In July 2020, Food Lover’s Market was found by the Competition Commission to have contravened the Competition Act after it admitted to charging excessive prices for “essential” raw ginger sold at its Westgate store.

ALSO READ: Food Lover’s Market found guilty for excessive pricing for ginger

Ginger has largely been used because of its medicinal properties to help fight flu-like symptoms and particularly those associated with Covid-19, with many people resorting to using home and herbal remedies to fight the virus.

Silindile Gumede, from Woolworths, admitted that there had been increases in their ginger pricing. However, they did try to keep it at the absolute minimum.

“There are, however, circumstances which often lie outside our control which have an impact on price adjustments. We will only accept a price adjustment as a last resort after exploring all avenues to prevent one. Based on our long-term relationships with our suppliers, we work with them to best understand how we can hold off prices increases.

“Ginger’s increased demand and limited local supply has resulted in the need for importing this product, increasing costs and therefore, increasing the retail selling price.”

Spokesperson for Pick n Pay, Tamra Veley, agreed with Gumede that local supply was drying up and that they needed to import to keep up with demand.

“Our ginger loose bag per kilo is the cheapest right now in our corporate stores. The price is around R189.99 per kilo. We understand where consumers are coming from but it is not as easy as it looks. Ginger is in short supply and everybody is importing. You will find that prices increase due to that.”

SPAR marketing director Mike Prentice said they were not the only ones increasing prices, adding that the demand has spiked while the supply has dried up.

“The supply has dwindled. In terms of the prices increasing at SPAR, our retailers buy ginger at various markets and when their price goes up, our retailers have no choice but to put the price up as well. We don’t have all the answers right now. We are doing an internal investigation to figure out what exactly is going on.

“It’s definitely not a case of just SPAR spiking up the prices of ginger. The cost price of ginger has gone through the roof. We [are] also aware that garlic and ginger have medicinal properties. I think that’s why there has been a wide demand. ”

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