Price of instant noodles up by one baht
The Commerce Ministry has bowed to requests from the manufacturers of instant noodles, allowing Mama, Wai Wai and Yum Yum brands to raise their prices by one baht per packet in line with soaring production costs, effective from Thursday.
Internal Trade Department director-general Wattanasak Sur-iam said the approval came after the department thoroughly studied the production costs of the three brands, including raw materials such as wheat, palm oil, packaging, energy and labour costs, acknowledging their production costs have indeed increased as claimed.
"The department considered a hike by two baht per packet, from six baht to eight baht, proposed by the instant noodle makers as too high, with such a hefty increase affecting low-income earners in particular," he said.
Manufacturers of the five largest instant noodle brands -- Mama, Wai Wai, Yum Yum, Nissin and Suesat -- last week jointly submitted a letter signed by executives to the Internal Trade Department to request the price hike for instant noodles, from six baht to eight baht per packet.
The five instant noodle producers comprise Thai President Foods Plc; Thai Preserved Food Factory Co, maker and distributor of Wai Wai instant noodles; Wan Thai Foods Industry Co, manufacturer of Yum Yum instant noodles; Nissin Foods (Thailand), manufacturer of Nissin instant noodle brand; and Chokchaipibul, manufacturer of the Suesat brand.
Each manufacturer individually sought to raise its prices since the middle of last year after the prices of the main raw materials used to produce the noodles surged.
The department is studying whether to allow Nissin Foods (Thailand), which has already submitted details of its production costs, to raise its instant noodle prices.
Chokchaipibul has yet to submit details of its cost structure to the department.
Pun Paniangvait, manager of the president's office at Thai President Foods Plc, said the ministry's response was a compromise and not entirely satisfactory.
"The department approved a price increase with conditions, ordering manufacturers to submit the cost of wheat, palm oil and fuel prices every month, compared with every quarter as in the past. If the price of major raw materials goes down significantly, instant noodle manufacturers have to reduce prices quickly," said Mr Pun.
"It sounds like we go up by ladder, but down by lift."
He said the manufacturers have to comply with the ministry's regulations and continue to run their businesses more efficiently.