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As inflation rises, how much more are you paying for your groceries?

Inflation figures only tell part of the story - how much exactly have the prices of your everyday groceries gone up in the past year? CNA compares the prices of some essential supermarket goods to find out. 

As inflation rises, how much more are you paying for your groceries?

The average retail price of a carton of 10 eggs increased from S$2.40 to S$2.60 from December 2021 to 2022, says the Ministry of Trade and Industry. (Photo: Facebook/NTUC FairPrice)

SINGAPORE: You may have noticed recently that your grocery bills have gone up. 

Singapore's core inflation rate, which measures the average change in prices for things like food, electricity and gas, rose 2.4 per cent year-on-year in January – the highest increase in more than nine years. For food alone, the inflation rate that month was 2.6 per cent.

But inflation figures only tell part of the story – how much exactly have the prices of your everyday groceries gone up? 

To find out, CNA compared the current prices of some essential goods from several supermarkets with that of a year ago. 

Avid bakers and egg lovers might have felt the pinch more than most – for fresh produce, eggs saw the biggest price increase.

Checks by CNA showed that the price of a pack of 30 Pasar fresh eggs was S$6.15 at NTUC FairPrice in February, up from S$4.75 in the same month in 2021. 

Fresh eggs from Sheng Siong saw a similar increase from S$4.65 for 30 eggs in February 2021 to S$6.15 in the same month this year. 

Supermarkets confirmed that the egg prices have risen across the board due to production, labour costs and freight, which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

DFI retail group, which manages the Cold Storage and Giant supermarkets, said egg prices have risen by around a fifth to a quarter since last year. 

FairPrice, Singapore's largest supermarket chain, also said that prices have increased by about 10 per cent compared to 2021, depending on the size of the pack, weight and country of origin of the eggs.

Prices of fresh vegetables have also increased, although less drastically. 

Comparing February 2021 with February 2022 prices, the price of baby cai xin (200g) and carrots (900g) from China rose by 10 cents and 5 cents respectively. Watercress (200g), round spinach (250g) and tomatoes (500-600g) from Malaysia rose by between 10 and 35 cents.  

Spring onions (100g) from Thailand now cost 10 cents more, and the price of local soya bean sprouts (200g) 15 cents more. 

But prices of some other essentials remain unchanged – CNA's comparisons of products such as frozen chicken and pork, some brands of fresh milk and white bread showed that prices have not increased from a year ago.

“Eggs, being a food commodity, are subject to price fluctuations due to market factors such as demand and supply, weather and socio-economic conditions,” said a FairPrice spokesperson. 

“Additionally, higher feed prices and logistic costs, as well as manpower shortages, also affect prices in the current volatile environment.” 

DFI said that aside from eggs, the cost price of some produce items has also increased due to recent unfavourable weather and port congestions. 

Its spokesperson said the company is working with suppliers to provide Cold Storage and Giant customers with "as much variety and supply of produce as possible”. 

Here's how the prices of fresh produce and other essential items have changed in the past year. (Graphic: Rafa Estrada)

WHY ARE FOOD PRICES RISING?

Global food prices are affected by factors such as pandemic-induced labour shortages, higher energy and freight costs and weather-related disruptions, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said in response to CNA queries.

“As a small and open economy that imports most of its food supplies, Singapore will have to manage global inflationary pressures,” the ministry said.

Has Russia's invasion of Ukraine also pushed up food prices?

The two countries produce nearly a quarter of the world’s wheat, and are also major exporters of barley, corn and sunflower seed oil, Associate Professor Chen Tao from Nanyang Technological University told CNA earlier.

Ukraine is also one of the largest exporters of food grain – the main ingredient in chicken feed, making it more expensive to rear chickens and in turn pushing egg prices up.

Since February, a pack of 30 eggs has increased by around 60 cents to S$7.20 as of March at NTUC FairPrice and Sheng Siong supermarkets. 

To keep prices competitive, Singapore imports food supplies from more than 170 countries and regions around the world, MTI said in its response. 

“The Government adopts a multi-pronged strategy involving import diversification, local production and stockpiling to mitigate the impact of unforeseen disruptions to our food supply, reduce our vulnerability to price fluctuations and ensure that prices remain competitive.” 

Source: CNA/hw

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