Millers assured consumers, bakery and food industries of a steady supply and prices of high-quality wheat flour for the holiday season, although higher prices are possible for new wheat arrivals.
Philippine Association of Flour Millers (PAFMIL) CEO Ric Pinca assured supply over the weekend, saying “our wheat ships are arriving on schedule and we see no logistical disruption on the horizon.”
Pinca, who attended the 60th anniversary of US Wheat Associates in the Philippines on Friday, November 18, said that according to presentations at the event, the major wheat suppliers in the US and Canada have just completed their wheat harvest from spring, while Australia is also expecting a productive harvest season. China holds 50 percent of the world’s wheat stocks but does not export, he said.
Although global wheat supplies remain tight due to Russia’s war with Ukraine, Pinca said the free flow of grain from the usual sources in the US, Canada and Australia has allowed local millers “to accumulate sufficient inventory to meet our vacation requirements and more.
In terms of prices, Pinca said there is “no movement yet”, but added that higher levels could start when new wheat purchases come in with higher prices.
Lucito Chavez, president of Asosasyon ng Panaderong Pilipino, said flour prices have been stable at P1,100 to P1,150 per 25-kilogram bag for the past few months.
But Chávez said that community bakers no longer have standard prices for their basic breads like “pandesal.” “It’s a game of chance, otherwise we have to close the operation,” Chávez said.
He explained that although the prices of flour and other ingredients have stopped rising for now, the prices remained at a high level with no indication that they will go down.
Another problem for community bakers is the fact that their pandesal is more expensive than the “Pinoy Pandesal” produced and sold by large bakeries.
Pinoy Pandesal sells for P23.50 per 10 piece pack at 250 grams or P2.35 per piece. But the community bakers are selling their pandesal at P2.50 for 18-20 grams per piece.
“Community bakers are not only losing customers with Pinoy Pandesal, but customers think we are ripping them off and that is destroying our image in the community,” he emphasized.
Hence, Chávez exhorts the Ministry of Commerce and Industries to adjust the prices of Pinoy Pandesal upwards or explain to consumers that Pinoy Pandesal is cheaper because it is part of the corporate social responsibility program of the big bakers.
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