South Africans work harder for cheaper meat – study

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South Africans work harder for cheaper meat – study

Johannesburg – South Africa’s meat is 20% less expensive than the world average, a new study has shown. But South Africans often have to work more hours than their counterparts in other countries to afford it.

Online caterer Caterwings’ 2017 Meat Price Index details the cost of meat in over 50 countries worldwide. The report examines the cost of beef, fish, chicken, pork and lamb in each country’s biggest cities, comparing it to the minimum wages or average pay for unskilled labour. The report then produces a good indication of the affordability of protein in different countries.

The study revealed that Switzerland has the highest meat prices, in total 141.9% more expensive than the average cost worldwide, followed by Norway (63.7% more expensive) and Hong Kong (61% more expensive). Meat in the United States cost on average 10% more than the rest of the world.

At 52.3%, Ukraine has the least expensive meat prices, closely followed by Malaysia, which is 50.3% less expensive.

Switzerland, despite its high prices, consumed almost 51 kilograms of meat per person per year, compared with South Africa’s 58.60 kg per person per year. Australians were by far the biggest meat eaters at 111.5kg/person, while India consumed the least meat at 4.4kg/person.


The study showed that South Africa’s unskilled labourers had to work 5.9 hours to afford a kilogram of beef, with a beef leg round priced at an average R88.03 ($6.54), offering some of the cheapest beef on the planet. Beef was the most expensive in Switzerland at R668.75 ($49.68) a kilo of beef leg round, 150% higher than the world average. But Swiss unskilled workers had to work just 3.1 hours to buy their kilo of flesh.

Hong Kong’s beef tenderloin also cost quite an arm and leg at R965.15/kg ($71.70). Beef tenderloin in South Africa was priced at R259.66 ($19.29) and beef mince at R45.63/kg ($3.39).

India had the cheapest beef, according to the study.

By Yolandi Groenewald