KARACHI: Branded manufacturers have dropped a price bomb on consumers — already struggling to survive under high prices of chicken, mutton, beef, wheat flour, sugar, etc — by raising rates of bread and other bakery items by 8.5 to 9 per cent.
In the price list issued to retailers, the manufacturers attributed the price hike to rising rate of raw materials, utilities bills and distribution cost.
Consumers braved over 11pc hike in July 2020 while in 2019 bread prices were pushed up by over 8pc ahead of Ramazan followed by another price hike by 9pc ahead of Eidul Azha. Total price increase in bread and other bakery items from 2019 till to date stands at 37pc.
According to the new price list, the mini-plain and milk bread is being sold at Rs45 and Rs46 as compared to Rs 40 and Rs 41.
The new price of small (plain and milky) bread is Rs65 and Rs66 versus Rs60 and Rs61. Large plain bread price has been raised to Rs120 from Rs110.
A cut burger bun and special burger bun pack of four pieces now carries a price tag of Rs60 and Rs65 as compared to Rs55 and Rs60. The price of burger roll has been enhanced to Rs25 from Rs20.
Bran bread and pillow pack rusk pack prices have been increased to Rs100 and Rs90 from Rs90 and Rs80.
Justifying price increase, General Secretary of the Karachi Bread Association (KBA) Haroon Iqbal said the rate of super fine flour has swelled to Rs3,275 per 50 kg bag which was Rs2,950 during July 2020, while sugar price now costs Rs94 per kg versus Rs87 during July 2020.
He said wrapping products (poly bags) price is now Rs675 per kg as compared to Rs450 in July last year while ghee and oil price are available at Rs250 per kg and Rs233 per litre as compared to Rs166 and Rs162, up by 51pc and 44pc in the last 10 months.
However, gaining rupee has definitely brought down the cost of imported raw materials but in the case of bread and other items, Mr Haroon said, imported raw materials and products like preservatives, improving agents and emulsifier prices had remained unchanged. They hold 22pc in total cost of bread manufacturing. One dollar is now equivalent to Rs152-153 as compared to Rs168.43 in August 2020.
In total bread and other bakery items, the share of small and mini bread is 70pc of total sales, he said.
However, the consumption of bread usually declines by at least 40pc during Ramazan.
Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2021