Grenadian consumers can expect an increase in price of bread once Caribbean Agro Industries (CAI) effect price increases for their flour.
This was told to THE NEW TODAY by the operator of one of the major bakeries in the city in response to reports that the CAI increase will range from 6% to 16% on some products.
“Most likely there will be an increase in the price of bread by the end of the month,” he said.
According to the business operator, there could be some justification in the reason given by the Mt-Gay-based Caribbean Agro for the price increase which was due to come into effect on Wednesday but was put on hold by the company without any explanation to the public.
The business operator noted that the local flour mill has been able to increase the price on its products at least three times in the past twelve years but bread prices have continued to remain stable in Grenada.
There is now informal discussions among the operators of the major bakeries on the island since the Grenada Bakers Association (GBA) is now defunct.
The bakery owner said that over the past 10 years, the price for key ingredients like sugar and flour has increased but they have not increased the price for their products to consumers.
He pointed to the fact that the price of basic bread has remained stagnant at $3.00 for over 10 years now.
“We would have to have an increase in bread prices. There is no if and but about it. You must have an increase because after that increase you don’t know when (another increase will become possible).
“What we have been able to do is maintain the same quality over the years in the face of rising ingredient prices. You can’t cut down a burger bread or a roll – you can’t make it smaller. You might be able to cut down a longer bread but that has been done in a small way over the years but you can’t go further.
The bakery owner also said that while their products have remained at the price over the years, many Grenadians continue to pay higher prices for imported bread.
These foreign bread, he said are full of “certain chemicals” that make them last longer on the shelves but they are not fresh like those produced by the local bakeries.
He stressed the need for Grenadians to become more aware that “the local bread is better” and in the case of those coming in from neighbouring Trinidad & Tobago, they are produced cheaper since the government in Port-of-Spain is subsiding flour in the twin island republic.
Under the new price structure announced by CAI, the price of Baking Flour was due to increase by 10%, Cooking Flour (12%), Poultry Feed (6%), Hog Feed (12%) and all other feed produced at the local mill by 16%.
The company told government in a letter last Friday that it was forced to increase the price of its products due to “developments occurring on the international grain market which is having a profound negative impact on the cost of sourcing key ingredients for manufacturing flour and animal feed.”
“The key inputs that go into our manufacturing processes are wheat, corn and soymeal. However, declining production of and simultaneous increased demand for these commodities have caused prices of these inputs to soar to high levels over the past few months,” the letter said.
Speculation is rife that the Ministry of Trade has stepped into the matter and forced CAI to hold its hand for the time being on the price increases.