Zambia, a nation with a rich tapestry of culinary traditions, offers a diverse array of foodstuffs that are central to its culture and daily life. In this article, we delve into the prices of essential food items in Zambia, providing a snapshot of the cost of living and the choices available to consumers.

Essential Foodstuffs and Their Prices

Food Item Price Range (ZMW) Notes
Rice 10 – 20 per kg A staple in many households, rice is versatile and widely consumed.
Maize Meal 5 – 10 per kg Known locally as mealie meal, this is the key ingredient for Nshima, Zambia’s beloved staple.
Sugar 5 – 10 per kg Sweetens the lives of Zambians, used in beverages and desserts.
Cooking Oil 20 – 40 per liter A necessity for frying and cooking various traditional dishes.
Flour 10 – 20 per kg Used for baking and making pastries, a common ingredient in Zambian kitchens.
Beef 20 – 50 per kg A source of protein, often enjoyed in stews and with Nshima.
Chicken 20 – 40 per kg Another protein-rich option, versatile in its preparation.
Eggs 5 – 10 per tray A breakfast staple and a key ingredient in many recipes.
Milk 10 – 20 per liter Nutritious and consumed on its own or in tea and coffee.
Vegetables 5 – 20 per kg Includes a variety of local greens, vital for a balanced diet.

These prices are indicative and subject to change based on factors such as brand, quality, location, and season. It’s crucial for consumers to consider nutritional value, shelf life, and taste, as well as preparation costs and any food allergies or intolerances.

Local Delicacies and Nutritional Staples

Zambia’s cuisine is a reflection of its 72 tribes and 10 provinces, with Nshima being the unifying staple across the country. Traditional dishes like Ifinkubala (Mopane Worms) and Kapenta (Dry Sardines) are not only cultural delicacies but also provide essential nutrients.

Market Dynamics and Food Inflation

The cost of food in Zambia has seen fluctuations, with food inflation reaching 13.70 percent in November 2023. This economic indicator is essential for understanding the broader context of food prices and the financial burden on Zambian households.

Culinary Etiquette and Social Practices

In Zambia, food is more than sustenance; it’s a social affair. Etiquette and communal eating practices reflect the country’s values and traditions, with meals often prepared by the wife and shared among family members.

Local Production and Importation

Zambia’s food industry is supported by local manufacturers like Foodstuffs Zambia and imports from countries such as South Africa and India. This blend of local and imported goods ensures a diverse market for consumers.


Food is indeed a basic necessity and a significant part of daily life in Zambia. With a variety of options available, understanding the prices and cultural significance of foodstuffs is key to making informed choices. Whether it’s the daily Nshima or the occasional indulgence in Ifinkubala, the Zambian cuisine offers something for every palate and budget.

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