Thu, Feb 24, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Food prices will rise, foundation says

By Shelley Huang  /  Staff Reporter

Contrary to predictions by the Fair Trade Commission (FTC), prices of everyday items from instant noodles to ice cream are likely to rise next month, the Consumers’ Foundation said yesterday.

As prices of raw materials continue to rise, supermarkets and retail chains that had managed to keep prices down with discounts and other promotional offers have been hinting at possible price increases at the end of this month or the beginning of next month.

Joann Su (蘇錦霞), chairperson of the foundation, which has kept tabs on price increases across the board, said that during a recent visit to the commission to discuss possible runaway consumer prices, the latter said that instant noodle-makers were not planning to adjust their prices.

However, Su said that contrary to the FTC’s understanding of the situation, the consumer rights watchdog had received information that instant noodle-makers intended to raise prices by between 10 percent and 30 percent, depending on the type of instant noodle and distribution channels.

Retail channels have also been hinting at a 10 percent to 30 percent price increase for various brands of ice cream, including Taiwanese brands and those imported from abroad, the foundation said.

Price hikes are also expected to affect a variety of everyday consumer goods, from cigarettes to various cooking materials sold at supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores and traditional shops and stalls, the foundation said.

In response, FTC vice commissioner Shih Hui-fen (施惠芬) said the commission would rigorously investigate violations of the Fair Trade Act (公平交易法) and crack down on practices such as illegal negotiations among companies to collude on price increases.

Violators would face fines between NT$50,000 (US$1,690) and NT$25 million.

The commission also said it would seek to determine whether the price hikes are reasonable adjustments reflecting the rising costs of raw materials by taking into account the cost of the goods and retailers’ operating costs for stocking the goods.

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