Year-on-year food inflation fell to 4.5% in January this year compared to 4.9% in December 2017, according to the Agricultural Business Chamber (AgBiz).
Agricultural economist Wandile Sihlobo noted that while this was the lowest level seen in over two years, the food basket remained mixed.
While livestock products such as meat, milk, eggs and cheese were slightly elevated, all other food products were registering slower inflation.
Meat price inflation fell to 13.4% in January 2018 from 14% in December last year after cattle slaughtering activity increased by 10%.
“We expect this trend to persist in the coming months, cushioned by large grain stock from the previous season and expectations of a good harvest in the summer crop growing areas,” said Sihlobo.
He added that while the Western Cape drought had resulted in a notable decline in wheat production, AgBiz did not foresee it playing a significant role in food price inflation as South Africa was already a net importer of wheat while the recent 45% decline in wheat import tariffs boded well for food inflation in the coming months.