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19 VAT free food items (and how to make them delicious)

If you haven’t heard already, VAT increased to 15% on April 1st, but Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has announced that poor households will not be affected by this change. We’re bringing you the latest list of VAT free food items, and showing you how to cook with them.

By Taryn Wilson

With this news, the government also announced that the South African VAT system will now take into account 19 basic food items which are to be zero-rated. This is a big move from the VAT Act (1991) which only included white and brown bread as zero-rated products.


Try our spinach and feta maize meal muffins.

2. Rice

These cheesy rice balls are so tasty.

3. Brown bread

There are so many options with brown bread! Try sandwiches, French toast, or a savoury bread pudding.

4. Dried beans

Want to know a bit more about dried beans? Get all the info you need here.

5. Vegetables

Vegetables go well with almost anything, but why not try a yummy warm veggie salad; it’s perfect for winter!

6. Fruits

Super easy and delicious, check out our French toast with fruit skewers.

7. Samp

Try a traditional umngqusho samp and beans dish to suit your taste buds.

8. Vegetable oil

Rich in Vitamin E, vegetable oil is always a go-to for cooking and baking!

9. Mealie rice

If you’re looking for a break away from normal rice, mealie rice has a higher nutritional value with similar taste and texture.

10. Edible legumes and pulses of leguminous plants

Legumes are a fantastic source of antioxidants, B-group vitamins and iron. They are also low in saturated fat, which make them the perfect filler for a hearty dish!

11. Pilchards in tins

You wouldn’t believe the amazing things you can do with tinned fish, so we’re showing you with our curried pilchard rotis.

12. Eggs

Eggs are another versatile food, and we think you’ll love this baked eggs in tomato and chorizo chutney.

13. Dried mielies

Aside from being a great staple food, corn is also a source of fibre, magnesium, zinc and iron, which are all essential minerals to a healthy diet! Dried mielies are wonderful to make in foil on the braai, and serve with meat and salad.

14. Milk

Milk is definitely an amazing staple for your diet, but why not get creative with our 3 homemade flavoured-milk recipes.

15. Cultured milk

Fermented milk, or Amasi, is made with lactic acid bacteria which gives it a distinct flavour. It also acts as an effective probiotic.

16. Dairy powder blend

While similar to milk powder, dairy powder blends pack more vitamins and nutrients, and have an excellent shelf life.

17. Milk powder

If you are lactose intolerant and on a tight budget, then powdered milk is a great option!

18. Lentils

Here are a few tips on how to incorporate lentils into your meals.

19. Brown wheaten meal

Yummy and filled with nutrients, brown wheaten meal is a delicious snack with jams and spreads!

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