In most middle class Muslim homes in Cape Town, a samoosa, pie or half-moon is a staple at iftar time. Although it’s not the healthiest option, savouries in Ramadan has for a long time been a Mother City tradition, perhaps for its ease in preparation and variety in taste. Go in to any average suburbia home, and you’ll find the freezer bursting with frozen savouries.
But has anyone stopped to notice the price of savouries lately? In some instances, you can expect to pay between R300 and R400 for a box of 100 samoosas or mini-pizzas. If you like variety, your savoury bill can end up costing over R1000.
Those in the home food industry say the price increases are a neccessity for them to survive. Some home-food entrepreneurs say it all comes down to the soaring fuel costs and the impact of the South Africa’s drought on food prices. Food expenses have over the past year escalated so significantly that it is now having a negative effect on entrepreneurs running businesses from their homes.
Fatima Nordien, who makes savouries from home in Mitchell’s Plain, says she had no choice to but to increase the cost of her products.
“Purr (for samosas) has gone up, and so has fillings like chicken, mince, cheese and other ingredients. Then you have to factor in the high cost of electricity and of course the labour. Making hundreds of savouries is a painstaking task…so yes, prices have to go up,” she says.
Shaheeda Jardien, a woman who has been running a baking service from her home says that the price of ingredients have become really expensive.
“With regards to baking I don’t use margarine or Orley Whip, so I use real butter and fresh cream. So ingredients with ingredients of a high standard, I find that prices have increased two fold,” explains Jardien.
“To find decent pricing for butter has become increasingly difficult; the cheapest price that I can find for a 500g butter is between R40-R50.”
Jardien says that she hasn’t lost customers as a result of her having to increase her prices, but she is finding it more difficult to find new customers for her business.
“To get new customers has proven difficult, customers will say that my products are a tad bit expensive and they were budgeting for a different price. Then I try and give them something that is within the budget but sometimes it doesn’t work,” Jardien went further.
Aneeqah Kilshaw, a part-time student and part-time baker in Ottery, says the price increase of ingredients has taken a bit of a toll on her business.
“Because I am someone who tries to provide a quality product for my customers I haven’t really had a price increase because when I introduced my products to my customers it was already at a significantly high rate because of the quality of products that I use,” Kilshaw explains.
“Even if the butter is going to cost me R40 when I go to the shop, it is a promise that I made my customers to provide them with a quality product.”
She says that as a result of the high price of ingredients she now has to make her products a little smaller than it used to be or less decorations will be placed on her cakes.
“I was actually telling (my mother) that I wanted to buy my Eid ingredients, but I am waiting for specials because at the moment the price of ingredients is ridiculous. IfI have to do my full Eid shopping now I will make such a little profit on my products,” Kilshaw explained.
“Because I am not a mass production bakery and I do not make goods in wholesale I can’t afford to buy in wholesale stock. If you do your own household shopping I’m sure everyone has realised how your bill from last year to this year has maybe doubled.”
Raeesah Solomons, another entrepreneur that caters from home, says that even though the prices have gone up, her prices haven’t increased.
“I love baking so much so I never increased my prices, but from this month my prices will have to increase due to the high price of ingredients for my products,” added Solomons.