The retail price of white loaves will increase from $4.89 to $4.95, wholemeal and whole grain from $5.19 to $5.35, while the wholesale price of white loaves will increase from $4.09 to $4.15, and wholemeal and whole grain from $4.19 to $4.35, each.
Rarotonga resident William Taripo says the increases are affordable for daily customers like him.
Taripo said he preferred the white loaves because they were cheaper than the wholemeal and whole grain options.
Price Tribunal president Fletcher Melvin said the increase in bread prices is due to a rise in wheat prices in Australia.
The increase has been due to an ongoing drought which has impacted the wheat harvest, driving up flour prices, Melvin said.
He said the suppliers have recently notified the flour wholesalers and bakeries of the increase.
Kervin Aroita, general manager for Avarua Bakery, said they were happy with the increase.
Aroita said they do not want bread prices to go up but the recent increase in the flour prices has left them no choice.
The price of bread was last reviewed in 2008 and 2014, which was the result of an adjustment from increases to value added tax.
“Bread is a basic need for the people and the last thing we want is to increase its price. But we can’t control the external factors which have led to this increase,” Aroita said.
“In 2008, the bread price increased due to shortage of wheat which was caused by flooding. This year we have the similar situation but it’s caused by drought. These are things that we can’t control.”
Avarua Bakery, which employs about 25 staff, produces 800 loaves per night on weekdays and 1600 per night on weekends.
Titikaveka-based Turoa Bakery is the other major supplier of bread in Rarotonga.
Melvin said the decision on the new prices were based on recommendations from the local wholesalers.
The last price order for bread was issued in 2014 and prices have remained unchanged since that year, he said.
“There will be another review of supplier prices in December 2019 to determine the next price order. The Price Tribunal has reviewed the evidence from the suppliers and made its own independent inquiries and agrees with the justification. It has been determined that due to the shipping and harvesting of wheat a full investigation of the prices should be held every six months.”
Melvin said only wholesale and retail prices for white, whole meal and multigrain bread on Rarotonga are subject to the price order.
The new prices will remain in force for the next six months until the next price order is issued in January 2019.
Price inspections will be carried out and breach orders will be issued where there is non-compliance.
Consumers should expect to see the new prices clearly displayed at retail outlets for these price controlled products. Retailers are obligated to ensure that the new prices come into immediate effect.