End of the sugar rush?


  • Focus
  • Saturday, 11 Mar 2017

Owners of coffeeshops and cafes spoken to by Metroperak say they will try to hold off on price increases since the fear customers will react poorly.

TRIPS to cafes around Ipoh city in the future might not be as much of a sweet experience as before.

With the price increase of 11 sen per kilogramme for coarse sugar, certain cafes interviewed by MetroPerak are saying that they might have to consider increasing the prices of food and drinks to cope.

Pointing out that the price of sugar is not the only reason behind possible price hikes, cafe owner Davin Sindhu said, if a price hike does indeed occur, it would also be due to the rise in prices of other neccesities like petrol and cooking oil.

“Although an increase of 11 sen per kilo for sugar might not seem much, you have to take into consideration that everything else is going up too.

“Other than cooking oil and petrol, the electricity tariff is another factor. Our electricity bill in recent months has gone up by 35%,” he told MetroPerak.

Beginning today, the price of coarse sugar rises from RM2.84 per kg to RM2.95.

Certain cafes in Ipoh interviewed by MetroPerak might be considering raising the prices of their food and drinks to cope with the price hikes of not only sugar, but other items such as petrol, cooking oil and electricity.
Certain cafes in Ipoh interviewed by MetroPerak might be considering raising the prices of their food and drinks to cope with the price hikes of not only sugar, but other items such as petrol, cooking oil and electricity.

The Domestic Trade, Consumerism and Cooperatives Ministry said the new price is due to a significant hike in the price of raw sugar globally.

Davin said he has been doing his best to cope with rising costs so far as he does not want to pass the buck directly to customers.

“But as someone who operates a small cafe, I do feel the pinch,” he said.

Likewise, cafe owner, Oriza Nelli, 39, said she will wait to see what her operating costs will be like after the price of sugar goes up.

“Since the recent increase of prices for cooking oil and petrol, I have not done anything to change the prices of the food served in my cafe because I think I can still cope.

“Now that the price of sugar is going up too, I’m not sure how things are going to be like as we use about 1kg of sugar every day for our drinks, cakes, and food,” she said.

Some of the coffeeshop favourites beloved by people such as coffee, toast with kaya, and sponge cake all require sugar in their making.
Some of the coffeeshop favourites beloved by people, such as coffee, toast with kaya, and sponge cake all require sugar in their making.

Nelli said if things get tougher in the future, she might have no other choice but to increase the prices on her menu.

When asked about the possibility higher prices in his business and the concerns surrounding charging customers more, cafe owner John Teoh said he is “going with the flow” for now.

“It’s good to see how others are doing first. If they too are raising prices, and we see a need to do so at the same time, we would do it.

“I just don’t think it’s a good idea to suddenly raise our prices, and we are the only cafe in Ipoh doing so, otherwise our customers would be very unhappy,” he said.

Teoh said, at the moment, he feels that the higher cost of sugar can still be absorbed and allow his business to run smoothly.

“Eleven sen is not too much of a hike, but at the same time, it will still make a difference in our costs in the long run,” he said.

A file image of people having their meals at a coffeeshopin Ipoh Old Town on April 9. The government says the rise in the price of local sugar is due to an increase in global prices.
A file image of people having their meals at a coffeeshopin Ipoh Old Town on April 9. The government says the rise in the price of local sugar is due to an increase in global prices.

Meanwhile, some coffeeshop owners are assuring the public that they are not planning to raise prices of their food and drinks for now.

Coffeeshop owner Koo Kan Weng, who runs his business in the Ipoh Old Town area, said, since his shop does not really use much sugar except for drinks and desserts, a price hike is not necessary.

“Besides, people are becoming more health-conscious nowadays. Most of my customers always order drinks with less sugar.

“As far as I can tell, I don’t see the need to increase the prices of drinks and desserts here just because of an 11 sen increase per kilo for sugar,” he said.

A coffeeshop cashier who only wanted to be known as Law, said there are also no plans to increase the prices in his coffeeshop.

Working just a few shop lots down the road from Koo, Law said this is because he is afraid customers will be very unhappy with them.

“First comes the dissatisfaction, then who knows if we’ll start losing our customers because of price increase,” he said.

Law said that coffeeshop where he works uses sugar for quite a number of food items and drinks it sells, such as coffee, tea, toast, and chicken chops.

“I think the higher price of sugar will surely be tough on us in the long run, but I guess there’s nothing much we can do about it,” he said.

Coffeeshop manager Alvin Mu also shares the same sentiment as Law.

“We usually get our sugar from wholesalers. Only if they raise their prices, will we do the same if we really see the need for it.

“Otherwise, I don’t see a price hike happening in the near future because I’m worried our customers will complain,” he said, adding that his coffeeshop uses sugar for sweet drinks and certain food items like egg custards and toast.

Another coffeeshop owner, who indentified himself only as Ng, said another round of price hikes not be possible for her business.

“I just increased the prices of our food and drinks in February, because the wholesalers I buy from readjusted their prices sometime before Chinese New Year.

“So I don’t think it’s wise to raise my prices again after an increase of 11 sen per kilo for sugar.

“It’s not too much of an increase too, so I think the cost is still bearable so far,” she said.

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Metro , Perak , sugar

   

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