CEBU CITY, Philippines - Bakery owners in Cebu have implemented at least a 50-centavo increase in the prices of baked products last week as flour prices continue to go up.
Pandesal and frances loaf now cost P2.50, while other sweet dough varieties such as peanut bread and coco bread now cost P3.50 in most bakeries.
Sliced bread now costs P30 from P28.
Christopher Ebisa, president of Cebu Bakers Association (Ceba), said a 25-kilogram bag of all-purpose flour now costs P1,030, a 4-percent increase from P700 in November 2007.
Ceba has more than 100 members composed of individual bakeshops and chain of bakeries in the province.
As of July 28, the weekly price monitoring report of the Department of Trade and Industry Central Visayas (DTI-7) shows that flour costs only P940 per bag, about P30 lower than its price in the first week of July.
Customers have mixed reactions on these increases, said Ebisa, owner of Pancevada Bakeshop in Inoburan, Naga City.
?Consumers complain why we always increase prices. We cannot do anything about it because we do not increase, we will lose the business,? he said.
Others, however, understand the plight of bakeries and are aware that price hikes of basic commodities also result to increase in the prices of bread, said Ceba secretary Marilou Bordalba.
This is the third time this year that the prices of bread have gone up, said Bordalba, owner of Mommy Lu's Bakeshop in Talisay City.
The first price increased was in April and followed by another adjustment in May.
Bordalba said she has not received complaints from customers regarding the increase.
Bordalba noted that prices of butter, margarine and sugar remain high, leaving bakers with no option but to either increase price or decrease the size of their bread.
A 15-kilo margarine now costs P1,050 when it used to be P990 a few months ago, she added.
?I am reducing the size of P5 bread also. From 70 grams, it is now 60 grams. I am also increasing prices of my chocolate, ube and banana cakes by P1 per slice,? said Bordalba.
Leona Cakes and Pastries also implemented a P1 to P5 increase last week.
Sliced bread is now P38 from P35, while chocolate chip cookies are now P48 from P43.
Prices of mamon, ensaymada and coco bread increased by P2. These varieties now cost P18 each.
Jane-Jane Ong, general manager of Leona Food Ventures Corp., said they have not increased prices of baked products for one year.
Ong said she has concentrated on minimizing overhead costs of water, electricity and fuel to cushion the impact of unabated increases.
?I've been telling every one to turn off lights and air-conditioning units if not in use. For drivers, I told them to do all errands in one trip para at least to save,? Ong said.
La Fortuna Bakery, however, has not increased prices since March.
General manager Rose Sy told that sales might decrease if they increase prices as most of their loyal customers come from the C, D and E markets.
?What we do is to avoid wastage. We only bake just the right volume so that walay mabahaw (nothing gets spoiled). We also supervise, manage employees because they might waste water and electricity,? Sy said.
In the meantime, the prices of fish sold at Mandaue City Public market continue to drop.
The drop in prices is blamed on the anxiety caused by the sinking of the MV Princess of the Stars last month and the abundant supply of fish catch.
Anadel Salotillo, market administration staff, said that in a week, the prices of Skipjack tuna, locally called as tulingan, reached as low as P70 per kilo to as high as P100 per kilo during weekends.
He said the change in prices was caused by the demand of the consumers, who bought more fish during the weekends.
On Monday, the price of a kilo of Tulingan was P90 while another kind of fish, katambak, cost P140 a kilo. /with a report from Reporter Dale G. Israel