Nigerians forgo staple food items as inflation bites
The recent hike in food prices has caused many Nigerians to rethink their food consumption pattern. Some have adjusted it according to their budget realities while others have overhauled their diet completely to fit their income.
Food items such as turkey, fish, beef, sausage, milk and other animal protein sources are fast becoming exempted from families’ diets due to the surge in their prices.
A Twitter user expressed his disdain for the current situation and how he copes with it.
“It’s crazy how Nigeria’s food inflation simply forces you to forgo some food items and move on with your life. I haven’t bought turkey since it cost N3200 per Kg. I stopped buying sardine when it became N380.” he said.
Others expressed anxiety they feel each time they go to the markets as the prices of food always exceed their budget.
“Inflation has forced me to stop buying noodles, yam, sardines, spaghetti, eggs, etc. The list is endless. Sometimes I am even scared of going to the market.” said a Twitter user @fynest_fine.
The table below shows the increase in the average food prices according to the National Bureau of statistics.
Quoting the NBS reports on selected food prices, FBN Quest capital, an investment firm, noted that all 43 food items surveyed increased by about 28.8% year on year average. On a month on month basis, the average price increase was 2.5%.
The popular food franchise Chicken Republic recently added a new combo “Egg star” to its menu. This new combo contains rice or spaghetti, with stew and boiled egg and it is priced at N500. This was a surprise to Nigerians as the franchise is known to be a strictly chicken menu.
In 2020 their “Refuel spaghetti with a spicy peppered sauce and delicious chicken” was N500, the same price as the “Egg star” menu in 2022. This menu belongs to the franchise’s everyday affordable meal, which consists of other affordable meals but the “Egg star” is their most affordable. This is so everyone can afford a meal and so they can stay in business.
“Inflation is at work here. The business owners have to constantly improvise. Either they increase the price of their commodity or they substitute. Imagine the cost of chicken 2 years ago to what is now obtainable,” @owolabibosun tweeted on the issue.
People now cope with the rise in food inflation by either foregoing a particular food item for a cheaper one or skipping a meal a day all to meet their budget.
Glory Fadipe, head of research FCMB during a conversation with BusinessDay said, “Many families skip meals or take lesser portions, they get the cheaper stuff irrespective of quality they just have to break even and there’s nothing that can be done about it.”
She spoke of how some food items are fast becoming meals consumed only once in a while.
“Staples are now becoming once-in-a-blue-moon things. Chicken, fishes like Titus are now expensive,” Fadipe said.
“Even for the common man staples have become expensive. I do not even buy snails again and I earn so much.”
One of the causes of the increase in food prices as indicated in the report by FBNQuest is the increase in insecurity in northern Nigerian states where many agricultural produce comes from.
The report revealed that another major factor is the pass-through effect from imported food prices due to the Russian-Ukraine war which is being felt globally by way of increasing fuel and soft commodity prices. This is likely to be felt more in the coming months if the war persists. Imported food inflation increased by about 8bps to 17.56%.