As ingredients for bread get costly, senator suggests non-wheat alternatives

Angelica Y. Yang - Philstar.com
As ingredients for bread get costly, senator suggests non-wheat alternatives
A baker demonstrates the process of making bread at a bakery in Kamuning, Quezon City in this file photo.
The STAR / Russell Palma

MANILA, Philippines — As the ingredients for bread become more expensive, Sen. Imee Marcos has suggested the use of non-wheat alternatives in increasing the nutritional content of the staple.

"Like the Nutribun, bread can be made with locally available non-wheat flours from camote, cassava, monggo, squash, potato, and rice. It can further be protein-enriched with peanut and malunggay," Marcos, who chairs the Senate economic affairs committee, said in a statement Wednesday. 

The Nutribun was a US Agency for International Development nutrition program in the 1970s designed to combat malnutrition. It was meant to be a "convenience food" to "supplement in elementary school feeding programs." 

Sen. Marcos said enriching bread is a "longer-term solution" after an industry group said it was mulling increasing bread prices.

 The Philippine Baking Industry Group (PhilBaking) previously said it intends to raise bread prices by next month, citing the rising prices of flour and sugar. 

In an interview with The STAR, Philbaking president Johnlu Koa said the group plans to increase the price of Pinoy Tasty to P38.50 by Feb. 1 from P35. 

He added that the 10-piece Pinoy Pandesal's price will rise to P23.50 from the current P21.50.

Koa said that the price increases are meant to cover the cost of flour, a 25-kilo bag of which has gone up from P690 apiece to P995. He added that the prices of sugar and liquified petroleum gas used for bread ovens have also increased, as well.

"With the way things are going, pandesal might just shrink to the size of a marble," Marcos said. 

"Rising raw material costs and operating expenses are forcing producers to increase their prices while customers' budgets remain tight amid the pandemic," she added.

The senator also urged the Trade department to look into implementing a price freeze of raw material costs in a bid to ease the burden of neighborhood bakeries. 

Another solution to address the rising bread prices, would be to import flour on a government-to-government arrangement, but only for emergency use, she added.







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