BISCUITS, long considered an affordable, household staple, are still popular among consumers despite the recent price increase caused by the rising cost of raw materials.
According to Malaysia Federation of Sundry Goods Merchants Associations committee member Wong Kok Wai, the price increase of flour from RM2.20 per kilogramme to RM3 had led to a price hike of wheat-based items such as biscuits.
Previously, consumers could buy a kilogramme of flour at RM1.35 whereas the current cost of flour was about RM3 to RM3.50, depending on the grade, he said.
“The cost of flour has risen by about 40% in the past three months. This has led to a 10% increase in the bulk price of traditional biscuits and cookies this month.
“The products, which come in 4kg tins, are sold by weight and customers usually purchase 500g or 1kg each time.
“So far, sales are not affected as the snacks are still popular among my customers, who mostly buy cream crackers and chocolate chip cookies.
“Many prefer traditional flavours and the items are priced around RM10 to RM18 per kg, depending on the flavour and type,” he added.Besides buying for household consumption, Wong said his customers would also buy whole tins for their factories and offices.
He also said the deposit sum for the tins had gone up by 30%, from RM10 to RM13 each.
“As retailers, we have to pay a deposit for each tin but the increase in the deposit usually does not affect the price of the biscuits and cookies,” said Wong, who runs a four-decade-old sundry goods shop in Tampoi, Johor Baru.
Another sundry shop owner Jenny Tan said the lack of workers at confectionery factories and the rising costs of other raw materials such as sugar, contributed to the price increase of biscuits.
“From what I understand, some factories are able to produce only 30% of the volume before the Covid-19 pandemic.
“So far, my customers have been understanding about the price increase and are still willing to spend on food and family favourites.
“They have continued to spend after the easing of the Covid-19 standard operating procedure and travel restrictions,” she added.
Tan said her customers did not do any panic-buying despite the increased prices of flour and wheat-based products.
“Although we are bracing for the price of the items to increase again next month, I have not noticed any stockpiling by my customers.
“They are mostly buying only what they need,” she noted.