Hard to swallow: breakfast items are more expensive in Salvador

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it is what health professionals defend, but it is costing more and more, and not even the dry bread with the smallest one, as they call the small cup of black coffee, is escaping of rising prices. A survey released this week revealed that Salvador was one of the 13 capitals in which drinking coffee became more expensive, and where the basic food basket presented a variation of almost 16% in the last 12 months.

Whether on the street or at home, the coffee is salty and the bread is tough. That’s because the price of sugar and powdered coffee itself went up, along with bread and butter. Milk has also become a luxury item and is being dispensed by some families. At the home of nursing technician Elisangela Lima, 46, the bread has been without filling for months and at the market it goes through the butter and goes straight to the margarine shelf.

“I don’t remember the last time I bought cheese or ham for breakfast. When it’s possible, we get bologna, but even that hasn’t happened in the last few months. So, it’s just the bread with margarine. We use coffee, sugar and liquid milk. The boys prefer powdered milk, but it’s impossible, and the liquid one might be the next one we’re going to cut,” he says.

Elisangela’s husband is unemployed, doing some random jobs, and her salary is the only guaranteed source of income in the house. It is with this money that she makes the purchases and pays the bills. “Since I live above my mother’s house, I have no rental expenses, but there are five of us at home, so any price adjustment has a big impact at the end of the month,” he says.

The readjustment came, and it was considerable. The National Survey of Basic Food Basket, carried out monthly by the Inter-Union Department of Statistics and Socio-Economic Studies (Dieese), released this week, revealed that in the last 12 months the variation in prices was 15.93% in Salvador, and items from breakfast helped pull that number up. The growth was also noticed in the comparison between the months of July and August, with powdered coffee (4.88% increase), butter (4.20%) and whole milk (2.20%) leading the ranking . The monthly variation of the basic food basket was 0.59% and the annual, 1.33%.

The receptionist Ana Luísa Moreira, 35, lives with her mother and two daughters and is the one who does the shopping. She told the strategies she has adopted to avoid rising prices.

“We exchange famous brands for cheaper ones, and I always ask what is the cheapest or the promotion of the day. We are eating more roots and tapioca than bread, because it yields more and is also healthier. Here close to home, Thursday’s produce is cheaper, so I leave to shop on that day. Other than that, they are always careful not to waste food and always research prices”, he says.

She also said that she is going to replace coffee at the market with ground coffee from the fair and that she has been buying more fruit to make juice. Retired Inês da Conceição, 67, found a replacement. “I like tea. I know that a lot of people don’t like it, but I’ve been switching from coffee to tea for a few days to save money”, he explains.

Bad weather
The technical supervisor of Dieese in Bahia, Ana Georgina Dias, says that the survey was carried out over 22 days in more than 100 establishments, such as supermarkets, fairs, butchers and bakeries, and in several neighborhoods. This study began in São Paulo, in 1959, and is currently taking place in 17 capitals. In Salvador, it has existed since 1983. She explains that the increase in prices is due to internal and external factors.

“Coffee is in the harvest period, but even so the producers preferred to retain stocks until the price rises, which happens when fewer products are offered. In addition, there was the issue of frosts, so producers had this expectation of higher prices. Sugar is also a direct result of the climate, which is dry and with severe frosts in the Southeast, one of the largest producers, which ended up affecting prices”, he says.

The supervisor explains that the off-season milk period takes place between May and August, when the amount of rain decreases and the quality of pastures is compromised. The result is that milk intake decreases and, with less product on the market, the price goes up. In 2021, the scenario was also aggravated by frosts that surprised producers and harmed pastures.

Butter, a product derived from milk, was also affected. The rise in the price of bread was caused by external factors. “What has affected the price of bread is something that normally happens when the exchange rate is undervalued. Most of the wheat used in Brazil comes from abroad, it is imported. So, as the dollar is now more expensive than the real, this ends up reflecting on the prices of imported products, such as bread, due to wheat flour”, says Ana Georgina.

According to the survey, the value of the basic food basket for the survival of an adult, for 30 days, is currently costing R$ 485.44 in Salvador. The value corresponds to 47% of the minimum wage, and includes twelve items: beef, rice, beans, manioc flour, sugar, soy oil, coffee, butter, milk, tomatoes, bananas and butter. Basic food items, but for some families they are becoming luxury products.

Housewife Francisca Oliveira, 55, was surprised to learn that the minimum wage needed to live in the current Brazilian scenario should be R$5,583.90. “I am shocked and disappointed. We’ve cut out everything that isn’t essential. Are we going to have to stop eating too?”, he asks.

Check out tips on how to save on breakfast:

  1. Replace famous brands with cheaper ones;
  2. Swap more expensive products, such as cheese and butter, for simpler ones, such as mortadella and margarine;
  3. Look for alternatives to replace bread, such as roots or crackers;
  4. Choose products that can yield more, such as tapioca or couscous;
  5. Leave to shop on promotional days;
  6. Ask the seller about the day’s specials;
  7. Search and compare prices;
  8. Juices and tea can be a solution in place of coffee;
  9. Form groups of friends and buy wholesale;
  10. Exchange industrial products for fresh, they are generally cheaper;

See the rise in prices of the basic food basket in Salvador from July to August:

  • Powdered coffee (4.88%);
  • Butter (4.20%);
  • Whole milk (2.20%);
  • Cassava flour (2.07%);
  • Crystal sugar (1.16%);
  • Soybean oil (1.0%);
  • Prime beef (0.96%);
  • French bread (0.61%);
  • Carioquinha beans (0.54%);
  • Banana (0.25%)
  • Tomato (-3.23%);
  • Needle rice (-1.66%).

Check the evolution of the price of the basic food basket in Salvador, in August, in the last 10 years:

  • 2011 / BRL 209.35
  • 2012 / BRL 225.23
  • 2013 / BRL 257.54
  • 2014 / BRL 266.34
  • 2015 / BRL 305.11
  • 2016 / R$ 376.45
  • 2017 / BRL 332.10
  • 2018 / BRL 311.92
  • 2019 / BRL 350.75
  • 2020/ BRL 418.72
  • 2021 / BRL 485.44

*Dieese source.