One day after the National Flour Mills announced an increase in the cost of flour to consumers, the Nutrimix Flour Mills is also putting customers on alert for a price increase.
In a release yesterday, the company said it will increase the price of its flour products as it continues to face the negative impacts of global wheat production.
“The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, severe weather conditions in several grain and wheat-producing countries and the decision by some of the world’s largest wheat-producing nations to curtail their exports have contributed to price escalations on the international markets that have adversely affected all countries,” Nutrimix stated.
The company said in the face of global uncertainty and insecurity, it was focused on securing a reliable supply of wheat and freight to ensure the country and its customers have a reliable supply. It said while it takes its responsibility for food security seriously, the company cannot afford to absorb higher prices for commodities any longer.
“Although we have sought to manage our operating and other costs to minimise the knock-on effect on our customers, Nutrimix faces no alternative option but to implement a price increase at this time. Our company will therefore apply a 10%-33% increase in the prices for our Country Pride and Nutrimix Premium Grade brands effective June 27th, 2022,” the company said.
It said to promote healthier lifestyles, it was “aligning” the price of its 2kg whole wheat flour to the exact pricing of the all-purpose flour.
The company said it is aware of the impact these increases will have on families and it will look for options to reduce the burden on customers.
Nutrimix has also pledged to support initiatives to develop more local alternatives to supplement national dietary needs.
This latest increase in flour prices comes almost six months after National Flour Mills increased prices by an 18 per cent average on December 29, 2021. Yesterday, NFM’s latest price increase took effect.
Manufacturers, vendors hesitant to raise prices
Although flour prices are increasing for the second time in less than six months, manufacturers and vendors who use flour as a staple in their products have expressed hesitation about raising their prices.
The Kiss Baking Company Limited issued a release yesterday saying it was not yet sure how the increase in flour prices would impact the cost of its bread and pastries.
“What we can say at this time is that we (at Kiss) are committed to doing everything practical to minimize the unavoidable impact that the increase in the price of flour will have on our prices and by extension on our customers,” Kiss Baking general manager Rene de Gannes said.
He said the increase in flour prices was being driven by “extraordinary circumstances” and the company will try to reduce the impact on customers.
Guardian Media spoke to several doubles vendors in Central Trinidad yesterday.
Vendor Ameer, who works at the Chinee Doubles stall in Freeport, said he had been told by the business owner there would be a wait-and-see approach to the price increase.
“We don’t know as yet, remember they increased the price of flour but we don’t know how things running, we will try our best to stay with the $6,” Ameer said.
The price of doubles was increased from $5 to $6 by most vendors when National Flour Mills instituted a 19 per cent increase in flour prices on December 31, 2021. The vendors were heavily criticised on social media for the increase at that time.
Vendor Ryan Sahadeo, who plies his trade in Chaguanas, said he did not send up his price when prices were increased last year.
“We could sell it for the $5 but we have to see the process and what going on with the flour price and then we could raise to the $6 but we have to see what going on first,” Sahadeo said.
At the popular Nick’s Cafe in Charlieville, where people line up for bread and channa sandwiches, owner Fazal Ali said he too will be holding off on an increase for now.
“I wouldn’t increase my price as yet, I trying to hold on for the small man,” Ali said.
Employees at Sweet Stuff Bakery in Cunupia said they are unsure of how they will continue to operate in the face of rising prices. One employee, who asked to remain unnamed, said the public may not take a price increase well.
“Due to the increase in costs, we will have to increase our prices but we don’t know how it will fare with the public because as it is, a lot of people are struggling currently,” she said.
The employee said many small businesses were bracing themselves for closure, as they could not cope with the increase. She said when flour prices went up before, Sweet Stuff did not increase their prices.
Risha’s Roti Hut owner Narisha Rahim said she too did not increase prices before. But now, Rahim said she is faced with no other option.
“It will affect the price of the products because when flour goes up by 33 per cent, prices of the food going to go up as well because everything in the grocery is going up and by 33 per cent is a lot of money,” Rahim said.