Price of traditional loaf of bread is likely to rise
Increase is inevitable due cost of flour
The price of traditional Maltese bread is likely to rise again in the coming weeks, possibly by at least 2c, because of an increase in the cost of flour.
Bakers’ Cooperative president Ray Briffa said the increase was “inevitable”, adding that, now that the price of bread was liberalised, every baker “had to do his homework”.
He said bakers were reluctant to increase prices again, but had no option if their labour costs continued to rise. They would not take this decision lightly because a price increase would definitely affect consumption.
This was “not ideal” because they were also suffering due to stiff competition by imported bread and foreign frozen bread heated here and sold in supermarkets.
Mr Briffa said the latest flour increase, which came into force yesterday, added to the woes bakers were already facing with the higher prices of water, electricity, gas and fuel.
This coincides with a 4c increase in the price of a carton of milk.
He recalled that the price of flour had increased by €2 for a 50 kilogram sack, out of which bakers produced between 95 and 100 large loaves. The price of a large loaf of bread can be purchased for between 65c and 70c, depending from where it was bought.
Asked by how much the price of bread would have to increase, Mr Briffa said a rough calculation would see a loaf rise by 1c for every €1 increase in the price of a sack of flour and this excluded other increases to cover the latest prices of fuel, gas, water and electricity.
Many bakers were focusing their efforts on keeping costs low rather than increasing the price of bread, leaving this as a last resort.
Despite the increases in the price of raw materials, not all bakers were considering increasing the price of their products.
The cooperative will hold a meeting for its members, probably next week, to discuss ways to cut costs.
Mr Briffa said the meeting would focus on how the bakers could cooperate and, possibly, join forces to reduce expenses.
He said that while a large bakery could afford to absorb the increase because of higher production levels, smaller bakeries did not have this luxury and had almost no option but to pass on this cost to consumers, something they were reluctant to do since it made them uncompetitive.
The last time the price of bread rose was last year.
Since the market had been liberalised, the increases varied between 1c and 4c.