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Sunday, Jun 16, 2024

Consumer watchdog says grocery price hike unrelated to distribution of consumption vouchers

Consumer watchdog says grocery price hike unrelated to distribution of consumption vouchers

The head of the Consumer Council said on Tuesday that the city’s grocery price hike has nothing to do with the consumption vouchers, with the cause for the increase contributed by the pandemic.
A study released by the council yesterday found that grocery prices surged 2.1 percent in 2022 - the biggest increase since 2013 and beating the inflation rate.

Canned goods rose a staggering 30 percent in the first three months of the year compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019, the Consumer Council said.

Speaking on a radio program this morning, Consumer Council Chief Executive Gilly Wong Fug-han said the pandemic had impacted the price of groceries, but she expected that the price would roll back within this year as the city returns to normalcy.

The study conducted by the watchdog studied prices of 260 items in 54 categories from three supermarket chains, finding that prices of more than 70 percent of goods - or 175 items - shot up. Butter increased by 15.4 percent, tea bags by 11.7 percent, cheese by 10.2 percent, and edible oil by 10.1 percent.

Wong explained that the war in Ukraine has a lot to do with the price hike in edible oil, which the country is a major exporter of sunflower oil. The pandemic also brought a halt to the transportation of goods and further affected the price.

Meanwhile, she said the council had not found a direct correlation between the consumption vouchers and the groceries price hike in the previous phases of the consumption voucher scheme.

She said prices only increase as the pandemic intensified, adding that consumers should always compare deals at different supermarket chains, saving up to 10% when buying groceries.

The watchdog hoped that with the city returns to normalcy, along with the cost of raw materials, transportation, and labor stabilizing, the groceries prices would eventually roll back to normal levels.
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