Commerce Ministry to look into plea for price hike by noodle-makers
Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit has told the Department of Internal Trade to give careful consideration to a plea by five instant noodle manufacturers seeking permission to increase the price from six to eight baht.
Five instant noodle manufacturers sent a letter to the department's director-general Wattanasak Sur-iam on Tuesday.
They are manufacturers of several famous brands, such as Mama, Wai Wai, Yum Yum, Sue Sat, and Nissin.
Wattanasak said that he is always monitoring the cost of instant noodle manufacturing and admitted that the cost of several production factors had increased. He thanked manufacturers for retaining their prices since 2021.
However, he said that the department has not allowed an increase in price and will closely monitor the price. If there is any manufacturer who sells above the price, they could face a jail sentence of up to seven years or a fine of up to 140,000 baht.
Wattanasak said that he could not tell when the department would reach a decision as it must consider it carefully to find a balance between manufacturers and consumers.
He said that goods would be considered case-by-case. He admitted that costs have increased but he is evaluating if it was significant enough to increase the selling price.
Pun Paniangvait, manager of Thai President Foods, the maker of Mama noodles, said that manufacturers would like the department to consider their request as soon as possible, as they will focus on exporting more products because exports account for 30 to 35 per cent.
He said that manufacturers earned more profits from export while they lost money from domestic sales.
Pun confirmed that their production was enough as his company was utilising 80 per cent of total manufacturing capacity. He said that there would be no shortage problem if people do not hoard instant noodles.
Jurin said that increasing the price by two baht would be too much, because it would affect low-income people a lot.
He told the department to consider the actual cost and ensure that its impact on consumers was the least possible, while manufacturers could continue production and not consider only exports. He added that the price should also decrease when costs have decreased.
Jurin admitted that several costs have increased such as energy, electricity, gas, shipping, and production factors.