Taiwan’s food industry generated NT$113.7 billion (US$3.68 billion) in the first quarter of the year, representing year-on-year growth of 5.2 percent, a report released by the Industry and Technology Intelligence Services (ITIS) said on Friday.
The growth was attributed to increased production by the industries that make cooking oil, tea, dried foodstuff and animal feed, the report said.
Citing data from the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, the report said that the wholesale prices of food rose 18.2 percent year-on-year in the first three months of this year, while the price of beverages edged up 0.4 percent during the same period.
The consumer prices of foodstuff such as cooking oil, adult powdered milk formula, noodles, yoghurt, fresh milk and pastries all posted a rise of more than 10 percent in the first quarter compared with last year.
ITIS analyst Huang Hsiu-hsiang (黃秋香) attributed the increase to hikes in the price of soy beans in the international market owing to heavy purchases by China of the crop and of soy bean oil from the US and other major growers in South America over the past year.
Because of huge Chinese demand, the price of soy beans in the first quarter rose 15 percent rise on the futures market in Chicago, Huang said. Increases in the cost of shipment of grain was also one of the factors that led to the significant rise in foodstuff prices in Taiwan, he said.
ITIS is the technology division of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and is responsible for strengthening industry competitiveness, assisting in its upgrade and implementing service projects.