The price of bread in the Cook Islands is likely to increase shortly due to the shortage of Australian wheat in the international market.
The Cook Islands imports its wheat from New Zealand flour mills who get most of their wheat from Australia.
Due to Australia’s worst drought in more than a century, the country’s wheat production has decreased and for the first time since 2007, it had to import wheat.
Kervin Aroita, general manager for Avarua Bakery, said prices for bread will rise as costs for wheat have increased.
“The price for white, wholemeal and wholegrain have increased by 5 percent,” Aroita said.
“We are going to have a meeting with the Price Tribunal and Turoa Bakery to discuss the price rise.”
Aroita said the price of a loaf of bread could increase by $0.20 cents or more.
Director and shareholder of Turoa Bakery, Atua Atuatika, said the price rise for bread is yet to be confirmed here in the Cook Islands.
Atuatika said: “we have received notice from our suppliers Mauri NZ and Bakels New Zealand that the price of flour has increased by 5 percent.”
President of the Price Tribunal, Fletcher Melvin, said they are yet to discuss the matter but it is concerning.
“The price of white bread is controlled under the Control Prices Act and any changes would have to be approved by the Tribunal. We are happy to look at any of the businesses submission and will do the necessary investigation and due diligence before making any decisions,” Melvin said.
Food stuffs New Zealand, who own theNew World, Pak’n’Save and Four Square brands, have confirmed that suppliers have signalled that prices of bread are to go up.
Foodstuffs sources wheat flour for its in-store bakeries from New Zealand and Australia.
They said the increase was due to decreased availability of wheat and greater demand for wheat based products around the world.
New Zealand’s Baking Industry Association president Kevin Gilbert said over the past six months the price of flour from mills relying on Australian wheat had gone up by up to 27 per cent.
Gilbert said that was entirely because of the drought in Australia.
He said the combined effect of increased costs for wheat, transport and dairy was likely to mean the retail price of bread will go up.