“Shrinkflation” causes bread weight to drop in the Philippines

Inflation has sent commodity prices soaring, and with them wheat prices, and a weaker peso is making imports of vegetable oils more expensive. Many Filipino bakers are downsizing their popular breakfast rolls to counter rising inflation.

Once, bread in the suburbs of Manila weighed 35 grams, but prices for local and imported ingredients have skyrocketed in recent months. To keep prices from spiraling out of control, bakers are changing the weight of bread to 25 grams to avoid the 2.50 peso (about $0.04) surcharge.

With the Philippines lifting restrictions on COVID-19 and schoolchildren returning to classrooms this year, it is hoped that economic conditions for bakeries will improve, but since December, wheat and fuel prices have skyrocketed. The price of flour has increased by more than 30%, sugar by 25% and salt by 40%.

Lucito Chavez, president of an association representing local bakeries said thousands of bakers are struggling with rising raw material costs. Most of them are imported from abroad.

Inflation in the Philippines rose to 6.1% in June. This was the highest level in almost four years as high oil prices drove up the cost of food and transportation.

Legislator and economist Joey Salceda said bread would be most affected by “shrinkflation,” in which product sizes would get smaller but prices would stay the same.

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