Monday, 28 October 2013

Impact of costlier sugar starts to hit

SIBU: Several coffee shops owners have hiked the prices of drinks while the rest may follow suit following the increase in sugar price by 40 sen per kg on Saturday.

Sibu Coffee Shop and Restaurant Owners’ Association chairman Tong Ing Kok confirmed this yesterday, adding by the middle of next month drinks in all coffee shops would have increased.

By then, he expected the new price list to be stabilised.

“There are more than 500 coffee shops in Sibu. The owners are making price adjustment of drinks now. Honestly, it is a bit confusing because our association cannot fix a standardised price list for them. They have to do it on their own.”

Tong said the association used to fix a standardised price list of drinks for the coffeeshop owners, but they cannot do it now as it would tantamount to flouting the Competition Act 2010.

He said this statute came into being because the government wanted to protect the interest of consumers.

“With our hands tied, our association will now only provide guidance to members and help them in other ways.”

He hoped coffee shop owners would take the interest of consumers into account when they increase the prices.

“I hope they will also study the previous price list and see how they should hike the prices.

“Let me stress it again – take the interest of consumers into account and hike reasonably.”

Tong said they had to increase the prices of drinks this time because there was no longer subsidy for sugar.

“A bag of 50kg sugar is now dearer by RM20 for us. In the last two years, the prices of sugar have increased at least twice.”

He said they had been struggling because they had to take the interest of consumers into account each time they considered a price hike for drinks.

“Dearer sugar is not the only problem we face in the hike of drink prices. We have also been affected by the hike of petrol prices and other factors.” - theborneopost

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