SA consumers’ pockets have been hit hard this year following increases in excise duties on vehicles, fuel levies and VAT, which saw food and beverage prices going through the roof.

Cutting back on luxury food items has become the norm for South Africans, but with the silly season around the corner and increased pressure to spend on gifts and parties, many are likely to face the season with some trepidation.

A bottle of wine already costs about 30c more per 1 litre, while a 750ml bottle of spirits will set one back an extra R14.89 compared to the same time last year. Beer and ciders (340ml) have also gone up by 14c.

Sweltering temperatures will also see consumers spending more on beverages as they reach for the fridge to quench their thirst. Doesn’t matter which way you look at it, more money will be spent on drinks these holidays, which could start tugging on the purse-strings.

To boost festive season spending this year, shoppers could benefit from choosing beverages that provide value for money vs those that eat into one’s pocket.

Here’s a snapshot of how much consumers are currently paying per serving of their favourite drink based on average supermarket prices:

BeveragePrice per cup or single serving (can/box/bottle)
Black tea20 – 45c
Rooibos tea40 – 60c
Kids Rooibos60 – 70c
Green tea35 – 65c
Earl Grey60 – 95c
Flavoured Rooibos/herbal teaR1.30 – R1.60
Fruit infused teaR1.20 – R3.30
Pure Instant Coffee85c – R1.50
Hot chocolateR1.35 – R1.50
Bottled waterR5 – R8
Fruit juicesR5 – R10
Kids fruit juicesR7 – R10
Soft drinksR5 – R13
Ready-to-drink iced teaR10 – R13
Sports drinksR10 – R15
Energy drinksR12 – R15

Surprisingly, teas – even the flavoured and fruit-infused varieties – have come out tops!

According to Joe Swart, spokesperson for the SA Rooibos Council, tea is the second most highly consumed beverage in the world, after tap water, and is also one of the most affordable beverages on the market.

“Hot drinks, which includes tea, coffee and other speciality drinks, only saw an inflationary increase of 4.8% in comparison to cold drinks that rose by 7%. Tea generally weathers the storm well in tough economic times and due to its low-calorie content also hasn’t been affected by the new Health Promotion Levy or ‘sugar tax’ that has been imposed on cool drinks.

“Already a popular drink among South Africans, Rooibos tea, in particular, offers great value for money, given its abundance of antioxidants and other health promoting compounds, which protect against chronic illnesses, such as heart disease and diabetes. Rooibos is naturally sweet and flavourful because it’s low in tannins, which are responsible for the bitter taste in other teas. Therefore, additional sweeteners, such as sugar isn’t necessary, which adds to its appeal. Unlike black tea, Rooibos is also caffeine-free, which means the entire family can benefit from this homegrown brew. Even when comparing flavoured Rooibos tea for kids to other kids’ juices, there’s a price saving of as much as R9.30 per serving.

“It also offers exceptional value when one compares paying 40c to 60c for a cup of Rooibos vs R5 to R13 for a soft drink, which is laden with sugar and only adds to one’s waistline.

“Rooibos’ flavour-enhancing properties also gives consumers plenty of options in terms of culinary use. Think salad dressings, sauces, braai marinades and desserts or use it to make a refreshing iced tea, party cocktail or evening tipple.

“All in all, tea is a good segment to explore, especially when your budget is tight, since there are an abundance of flavours on the market with new infusions being introduced every other month. It’s also a big part of South African culture and makes for an experiential affair, which suits everyone’s palates and pockets,” remarks Swart.

For more info on Rooibos, its many uses, health benefits and more, visit