South Africa Economic Outlook 2024

May 2024


In 2023, the volume of food and beverages sold per capita at South African grocery stores and supermarkets declined by 3.2%. This can be attributed to several factors, including the inflation-adjusted buying power of salaries and wages declining by 1.0%. Also, household spending was reprioritised as home loan repayments were at least 40% higher compared to three years ago due to elevated interest rates. And this year, El Niño could cause a 25% drop in local white maize production. 

Adding pressure to food security, the annual food loss and waste in South Africa is around 11 million tonnes — a third of available resources. The South African Food Loss and Waste Initiative is working with food manufacturers, distributors and retailers to halve the country’s food waste by 2030. With half of food loss and waste occurring during the manufacturing process, it is imperative that food producers, for example, apply modern techniques to better plan their operations in order to minimise wastage.

In this edition: 

Towards greater food security for our people

Precision agriculture, smart manufacturing, and retail planning can contribute to greater and more sustainable domestic food supply

There is a need to explore sustainable solutions to adequately feed South Africa's population, which is expected to grow by an additional four million people by the year 2030. PwC’s research has identified several levers that the broader food industry can pull to meet the current and expected future demand for nutrition in a sustainable way, and how to do so without significantly increasing food prices. These levers are: 

  • Precision agriculture to increase farm production and sustainability 

  • Smart manufacturing making better use of resources

  • Reduced food waste at the retail and consumption level

As a society, we need to make better use of our resources to ensure that food production is increased and that improved nutrition is available to more people at affordable prices. This requires agricultural players to produce more food crops in a sustainable manner, manufacturers to make food and beverages products more efficiently, and for retailers and consumers to cause less loss and waste at the consumption level. We delve into these three sectors and how they can contribute to greater food security. 

Key content in this report includes:

  • Deteriorating food security: Deteriorating food security: South Africans are buying less food as their spending power declines.

  • Precision agriculture: Technology is at the core of farming’s second green revolution.

  • Smart manufacturing: Improved demand forecasting can reduce surplus inputs and waste in food production.

  • Retail planning: Better inventory management and marketing practices can minimise shop and consumption wastage.

  • How PwC assists our clients with precision agriculture, smart manufacturing, and retail planning. 

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South Africa Economic Outlook | May 2024


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Contact us

Lullu Krugel

Lullu Krugel

PwC Africa ESG Platform Leader, Strategy& and Chief Economist, Strategy& South Africa

Tel: +27 (0) 82 708 2330