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New bread prices here to stay, Raro bakers say

Tuesday 20 September 2022 | Written by Caleb Fotheringham | Published in Economy, National

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New bread  prices here  to stay, Raro bakers say
Avarua bakery general manager Kervin Aroita (left) and Atua Atuatika who runs Turoa Bakery says the price of production had increased. Picture: CALEB FOTHERINGHAM/22091902

The new bread prices following an increase over the weekend is likely to stay despite the price being reviewed in six months’ time.

The Cook Islands Price Tribunal increased the maximum price of bread from Sunday, September 18. White sliced bread increased from $5 to $5.95, wholemeal increased from $5.30 to $6.30, and wholegrain went up from $5.20 to $6.25.

Avarua bakery general manager, Kervin Aroita said the price of everything had increased.

“From the flour, to the ingredients, to fuel, to freight, to the minimum wage,” Aroita said.

“We have been hanging on and hanging on but now we can’t, we have to pass this onto consumers.

“We’ve been taking it from March right up until now.”

The Tribunal will review the cost of bread in March 2023.

However, Aroita said the bakeries would likely experience another increase in prices of ingredients very soon.

Turoa Bakery director Atua Atuatika said it was not the bakery’s intention to raise the price again in six months’ time.

But the price would likely remain or get higher.  

Atuatika said he did not see the price of fuel and power decreasing.

“We’re hoping that it does flatten out,” he said.

Aroita said the price of ingredients began to increase in July 2021 but it was only reviewed when the price of flour increased in March.

He said the price of oil used for baking the bread also increased by 25 per cent in mid-August.

Atuatika said he worked out that flour price increased by 23 per cent.

“That’s a big hike, we’ve never ever had the price of flour jump as high as that in the past,” Atuatika said.

“It’s not only the flour but the freight, the cost of power, everything.

“Most of the time we absorb the extra cost because we feel sorry for the public, but it gets to a stage where we can’t hold it anymore.

“It’s come to a stage where it is just getting to hard for us.”

Atuatika said majority of the population did understand the reasons behind the increase in bread prices and were not shocked.

In March this year, Aroita warned that consumers could face major increases to the price of bread as bakeries dealt with the flow-on effects of supply chain issues and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

At the time Aroita said the bakeries would have little choice but to pass on the cost to consumers.