Commerce Minister Emma Hippolyte has said that the review will be undertaken in partnership with the Saint Lucia Bakers Association (SLBA). There is no specific time frame in which this exercise could be completed. It will focus on keys issues such as cost and standard, among others.
Hippolyte said the review will allow consumers to understand the type of bread they are buying and the ingredients used to bake them. Commenting on the recent price increase of bread, the minister explained that government only has the authority to control the price for controlled bread.
On Monday, August 11, the SLBA issued a new price list for decontrolled white bread and whole wheat bread, with increases. The association said members have had to absorb the price increases of flour, sugar, water, electricity, ingredients, packaging, as well as the price of gas and diesel.
All packets of white rolls, hamburgers, hot dogs, butter bread, butter loaves and french have now moved from $2 per packet to $2.50 per packet. All packets of whole wheat rolls, loaves, and sandwich have moved from $2.50 per packet to $2.75 per packet.
In light of the recent increase in cost for basic food items, the Saint Lucia National Consumer Association (SLNCA) told Saint Lucia News Online (SNO) that it is deeply concerned and is calling on government to urgently review the list of controlled items.
Vice President of the SLNCA Matthias Polius said consumers are feeling the brunt of the price increases. Polius also voiced his concern regarding the increase price for decontrolled bread.
He said this is not necessary, even though the subsidy has been removed from flour. He also raised concerns that bakers tend to increase the price for bread, based on the shape, using the same ingredients.