Grocers chief: Food prices to remain high


Tribune Business



FOOD prices will remain high in the short to medium-term, the Retail Grocers Association’s (RGA) president warned yesterday, amid little sign that inflationary pressures are easing.

Philip Beneby told Tribune Business he “has not seen any indication or proof” that food prices start to decline in the immediate months ahead. “Maybe the larger stores that do a lot of importing, and those who have a lot of communication with the other foreign suppliers, and have access to monthly letters giving forecasts or predictions as to what may take place [might have seen declines], but it doesn’t reach The Bahamas in a timely fashion,” he added.

“I am not in communication with their suppliers overseas, and only if I have sight of a forecast letter then I would know. But, on the local scene, prices will either increase or they will remain the same.” Lettuce prices have doubled in the past few weeks, while the cost of eggs has been steadily increasing to the point where they are also almost double the price seen in 2019.

“The lettuce has declined somewhat, and I don’t know if they will continue, but eggs have been increasing. A case of eggs now is $230 a case for large and extra large eggs, and $195 for medium A,” Mr Beneby said. “I won’t say there won’t be a decrease in food prices, but I don’t think there is going to be one in the near future. I don’t have communication with a lot of the overseas suppliers to get that kind of feeling, but not at this time.

“Things are high, and also the availability of some items has still not changed. There are a lot of items that are just out of stock, and all of that was due to the pandemic. Factories and manufacturers are trying to pull back together with the materials, and some of them have just gone out of business.”

Despite the unavailability of some brand names familiar to Bahamian consumers, Mr Beneby encouraged shoppers to make use if “generic brands”. He added: “I would encourage customers to be more conscious of their shopping and maybe not go for the regular brands that may cost a bit more,” he added.

The Retail Grocers chief, meanwhile, said the price control battle with the Government has been “sorted out” and the industry has “nothing else to report” at this time. The sector reached a stand-off with the Davis administration last year over the latter’s bid to expand the price control regime and lower its margins - a move it argued could have resulted in widespread job losses and business closures.


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