The current cost of living in South Africa has all of us tightening our belts. Consequently, South Africans are doing whatever they can to save on essentials like fuel, electricity, household items and food. One of the solutions that has come to light is food stokvels (also known as grocery stokvels).
Similar to the traditional stokvel, a food stokvel consists of a group of people who come together and collect funds to buy food and essential groceries in bulk. These groceries are then shared equally among the members of the group – keeping their households fed. The groceries are purchased monthly or annually, depending on the agreement that was made between the members.
To get the most out of their monthly or annual shopping sprees, most of the items that are bought in bulk are non-perishable. These items are often more affordable and last longer, making them easier to store. We explore some guidelines and tips to shop like a pro when it comes to your stokvel.
Advantages of food stokvels
Food stokvels offer many advantages. Besides enabling individuals (mainly women) to sustain their households, stokvels also enforce saving habits on their members. The rules of belonging to a stokvel prohibit members from skipping or failing to make their monthly payments, so members’ households can always rest assured that there’ll be food on the table.
Furthermore, the social ties which develop during the functioning of these stokvels are often maintained and incorporated into the broader community. These social ties are invaluable in times of need, particularly when the next of kin of members are not available, and other members of their stokvels provide the support and assistance needed. It’s a way of surviving, and of communities taking care of one another.
When it comes to shopping for a stokvel, it’s imperative that the most cost-effective approach is taken, so that members can get more value for their money and still ensure that their family is eating healthy. Buying in bulk has always been one of the best ways to shop economically, and when food is shared among many, it works out perfectly.
Some tips to keep in mind when shopping for your grocery stokvel:
Staple non-perishable items – and what you can do with them
Food stokvels are for buying home essentials in bulk. When buying bulk, however, it’s important to do it ethically and efficiently so as not to waste food. Recommended shopping items, therefore, include non-perishables such as cooking oil, dried goods like beans, rice, and pasta, and canned goods, which have a long shelf life.
Below you’ll find more information on some of these non-perishable staples, along with some recipe ideas.
Canned or dried beans: Beans and other legumes are an essential. They’re high in protein and can be added to all kinds of recipes to add sustenance and healthy nutrients, like this classic Beans and Samp recipe, for example. Both canned and dried beans can last a long time, but dried is often more affordable.
Soup powders and cooking bags: Soup is a comfort food that can be enjoyed year-round! When buying soup powders or Knorr’s Cook-In-Bags (with seasoning) in bulk, you can be sure to get your money’s worth. Soup powder can also be used in stews, to add flavour and thicken sauce.
Canned fish: Fish like tuna, anchovies and sardines can be used for a range of healthyyet easy recipes, like this Cheesy Tuna-Stuffed Potato recipe. They contain protein and their longevity and shelf-stability can help decrease food costs and waste.
Canned or frozen fruits and vegetables: When you don’t have access to fresh fruits and vegetables, unprocessed, canned or frozen fruits and vegetables offer similar nutrients – and they have a long shelf life.
Pasta and sauces: Pasta and a range of sauces are great for keeping in the pantry. They last long, and mean you always have a go-to meal, for example, this simple Boloroni Pasta Bake. If you shop smart and buy whole grain pasta, it also offers nutritional benefits such as fibre.
Rice: Like pasta, rice is a staple when it comes to non-perishable foods. It can be stored long-term and makes for the ideal accompaniment to almost any meal, making it one of the most versatile food items. Take this Chicken and Rice recipe, for example.
Oats and maize meal: Both these grains are popular in many South African households. They’re a great way to begin your day, and oats can also be used for some baked treats.
Flour and sugar: Whether for baking or cooking, flour and sugar are another two staple items for the pantry. If stored correctly, they can last a long time.
Cooking oils: We have access to all kinds of cooking oils at local retail stores, including canola, soybean, sunflower, olive, avocado and more. These oils contain a mix of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which are known to support cardiovascular health.
Spices: Many non-perishable items can be spiced up to add flavour. So, spices are something to add to the shopping list! When shopping for spices, choose versatile products that’ll enable you to add flavour to a variety of dishes.
Other, fresh items are also bought and shared among members, but with the selection of staples covered on the list of non-perishables, many households can already be sustained in a healthy and nutritious way even while eating on a budget.
Similar to the traditional stokvel, a food stokvel consists of a group of people who come together and collect funds to buy food and essential groceries in bulk. These groceries are then shared equally among the members in the group – keeping their households fed.
Stokvels enable members of local communities to counteract socioeconomic problems such as poverty, shortages of resources, low incomes, and a lack of assistance mechanisms in their own way
Ask around in your community to find out whether there is an existing food stokvel that you’re able to join. Remember, however, that they have strict rules that you need to abide by to remain an active member.
We share some valuable tips to keep in mind when shopping for your grocery stokvel in the article above – have a look to make sure you’re making the most of your shopping list.
Food stokvels are for buying home essentials in bulk. When buying bulk, it’s important to do it ethically and efficiently so as not to waste food. Recommended shopping items include non-perishable food items such as cooking oil, dried goods like beans, rice, and pasta, and canned goods.