Consumer Council reports 1.9% rise in supermarket prices, with chocolate and confectionery costs surging by 23.7%

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15th April 2024 – (Hong Kong) A recent survey conducted by the Consumer Council has brought to light the nuanced changes in supermarket pricing, revealing a modest 1.9% increase in the average price of a diverse basket of 300 items. This year’s rise, though slightly less steep compared to last year’s 2.1%, closely mirrors the Composite Consumer Price Index, underscoring a consistent upward trend in retail pricing.

The detailed scrutiny of prices across three major supermarket chains, utilising sophisticated electronic scanner data, has exposed significant variances in how different categories of goods have adjusted price-wise over the past year. Despite the general mild increase, more than half of the surveyed items have seen their prices go up, affecting a broad range of products.

Here’s an item-by-item overview of some notable categories that experienced price adjustments:

  • Chocolates/Confectionery: This category saw the most significant hike, with an average increase of 23.7%. The rise in prices within this group can be attributed to poor harvests in major cocoa-producing countries, which have squeezed supply lines and driven up costs.
  • Biscuits: Coming in with an 11.7% increase, the biscuit category ranks second in terms of price rises. Factors influencing this surge include fluctuating commodity prices and increased manufacturing costs.
  • Eggs: The price of eggs has risen by 10.6%, influenced by avian influenza outbreaks in several egg-producing countries, which tightened supply chains and increased import costs.

Conversely, some categories have seen a reduction in prices, reflecting shifts in consumer demand and supply chain recoveries post-pandemic:

  • Frozen Pastries: Prices dropped by 3.8%, likely due to decreased demand as consumers return to pre-pandemic dining habits.
  • Packaged Rice: After a spike during the pandemic, prices in this category decreased by 2.6%, as panic buying subsided and stocks stabilised.
  • Frozen Dim Sum/Meals: Similarly, this category saw a 2.4% decrease, aligning with a reduction in home dining and frozen food purchases as restaurants reopened.

The item-by-item price increase highlights the dynamic nature of retail pricing, influenced by a myriad of factors from global supply chain disruptions to local market demands. For consumers, this detailed breakdown serves as a crucial tool in budgeting and shopping strategy, emphasizing the importance of price comparison and informed purchasing decisions.

Retailers, on the other hand, are reminded of their role in maintaining price stability and fairness. The Consumer Council urges supermarket groups to uphold social responsibility by moderating price hikes and considering the broader economic impact on consumers.