Flour prices up, bakers under pressure

Published September 27, 2021, 6:47 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Flour prices are up 15 percent while other ingredients in breadmaking are also on uptick, putting pressure on prices of bread, particularly Pinoy Tasty and Pinoy Pandesal.

Simplicio Umali Jr., president and general manager of the country’s largest bread manufacturer Gardenia Bakeries, said that flour prices have been increasing substantially. Umali hinted this might trigger adjustment in Pinoy Tasty, which has not increased in the past two years. Pinoy Tasty is sold for P35 per 450 grams and Pinoy Pandesal for P21,50 per 250 grams or 10 pieces per pack.

“We hope to keep Pinoy price unchanged but cannot guarantee if till end of year as price of flour has started increasing substantially. As of now, flour is up 15 percent and may still keep increasing,” said Umali.

Umali said that members of PhilBaking, a group of commercial bakers in the country, have not raised Pinoy tasty and Pinoy Pandesal prices despite increasing price of flour.

“This was also announced by the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) Sec. Mon Lopez & Usec. Ruth Castelo. Bakers have agreed to maintain this price and absorb the increasing cost. Consequently, branded breads are also pressured to hold on to prices as much as possible since Pinoy Tasty competes with branded breads,” he said.

In the meantime, Lucito Chavez, one of the leaders among community bakers, said that consumers should not take it against them if they will be forced to adjust a bit their prices as cost of production and raw materials are on the rise.

“It is not just flour, but other ingredients in breadmaking like oil, yeast and packaging materials,” said Chavez. Community bakers in Metro Manila have not raised prices yet, but he was told that bakers from the north are contemplating of price adjustments already.

“We are operating on survival cost because we have employees to sustain. Don’t take it against us if we raise a bit our prices because we just want to survive,” he said adding that several community bakers are trying to reopen their operations to support workers. A community baker usually employs 5-7 workers.

Years ago, he said, community bakers reached 3,700 but only less than 2,000 have survived at present.

Consumer advocate Laban Konsyumer Inc. President Victorio Mario Dimagiba has urged the DTI to suspend the implementation of increases in the suggested retail prices of basic commodities and prime commodities issued on August 29, 2021.

Dimagiba also said that DTI should closely monitor and control prices of basic goods and that commodities should be co-terminous to the effectivity of President Duterte’s proclamation of state of national calamity under Proclamation number 1218, which will end in September next year.