Pork steps up to the plate as beef and lamb prices soar


Price-sensitive buyers are being forced to reconsider their month-end grocery picks as meat prices continue to skyrocket, consistently showing year-on-year increases. Rising fuel and animal feed costs, largely driven by the war in the Ukraine, have sent international food prices soaring. Comparing local meat prices for May 2022 against the same period last year, the average price of beef has risen by 13%, mutton and lamb by 4.7%, and chicken by nearly 12%.

Given the importance of meat to South African diets, pork is therefore increasingly stepping up to the plate to relieve pressure from budgets, offering consumers a cost-effective protein alternative at an average of just half the price of beef and a third of the price of lamb, notes Eskort CEO Arnold Prinsloo. According to the recent Knorr Professionals Plate of the Nation study, for example, the average South African eats meat four times a week, and 90% of households consume it at least twice a week. Additionally, meat makes up 26% of the average plate’s contents.

“South Africans are a meat-loving nation, but consistent price increases for beef and lamb mean that these will soon be a luxury very few can afford,” says Prinsloo. Notably, a 0.5% rise in interest rates combined with a 9.6% electricity hike, and ongoing fuel price shocks mean that many consumers have already reached the financial breaking point.

“A simple switch to pork on dinner plates could save families hundreds or even thousands of rands each month,” he emphasises. “This saving is particularly meaningful while escalating costs of living are placing a growing squeeze on budgets – especially for vulnerable low- and middle-income households.” While chicken is also traditionally seen as a more affordable protein option for alleviating pressure on grocery bills, figures released by the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group (PMBEJD) show that chicken prices have on average climbed by 10% every year for the past ten years.

“Pork has become an increasingly competitive alternative to chicken, while also offering great taste and nutritional benefits.”

Grams to rands value

Prinsloo adds that nutritionally, pork offers a far richer source of protein at much lower prices than beef or lamb. At an average abattoir purchase price of R60.67 and R110.78 per kilogram respectively for high-grade beef and lamb, compared to just R27.78 per kilogram for pork, pork is steadily creeping to the top of grocery lists. Grams to rands, pork also represents one of the best value meats for satisfying daily nutritional needs. With about 27 grams of protein per 100 grams of pork, consumers receive roughly 9.72 grams for every rand spent. By comparison, beef offers roughly half this amount at 4.3 grams, and lamb only one fifth at 2.26 grams per rand.

“We’ve understood for years that when it comes to providing high protein products at the lowest cost possible, there really is no competing with pork,” he says. “Given that even high-grade pork is still far cheaper than the lowest grades of lamb and beef, pork offers great value for consumers looking to stretch their rands a little further, especially in these tough times for households.”


View more

South Africa’s Leading Pork Producer Leverages Heidelberg Investment for High-Tech Efficiencies

With the official launch of the Heidelberg Factory Extension in mid-February, Eskort, the top pork producer in South Africa, has increased its...

Eskort brings mealtime solutions to the Eskom table

Power outages remain a significant challenge for hard-pressed South African households, particularly when it comes to providing a tasty, affordable...

The 2023 Liberi wine project is here!

The Liberi wine project, now in its third year, is an Eskort initiative in collaboration with Saronsberg. The project seeks to combat poverty in South...

Three smart shopping tips for picking heart healthy pork

Latest Statistics South Africa figures show that nearly one in every five South Africans suffer from diseases of the circulatory system such as heart...


The Eskort Mapha initiative was launched in response to the rising hunger crisis that affects underprivileged children in South Africa. This...

How enjoying pork saves vultures

Our farmers at Walt Landgoed recognise the significance of responsible farming practices and the impact they have on the environment. Walt Landgoed...

Look at that. Still works.

#EskortOriginal It seems our recent campaign landed us in some hot water. So much so that a ‘little birdie’ asked us to change it. So we complied....

Eskort Viennas are boasting an exciting new look

Eskort is thrilled to announce the launch of their exciting new packs across their delicious Vienna range. The objective of the new pack innovation...