Butter price hike: consumers should look for alternatives

Caption: A staff of Superfoods Supermarket in Nadi at the butter and margarine corner. Photo: MARGARET NAQIRI.

The Consumer Council is advising consumers to be smart shoppers and look for alternatives in light of the recent increase in the price of the popular Rewa butter. Although, Rewa butter remains popular with ordinary consumers, price increases mean consumers who cannot afford Rewa butter need to look at alternatives. There is jubilee, anchor and westgold in the market but anchor is more expensive than Rewa butter.

The regulated retail prices of Rewa butterhave increased by more than 20% after the Fiji Commerce Commission’s (FCC) latest price determination. Consumers in the main urban centers who purchase 250grams or 500grams of Rewa butter will now be paying 86 cents and $1.61 more, respectively. The popular 125gram (“quarter pound”) butter will set consumers back by 45 cents.

The Consumer Council advises consumers that they can choose alternatives like Jubilee butter which is 50 cents cheaper for the 125gram packet, while the 500gram packet is $1.85 cheaper than Rewa butter. However, we advise that Jubilee butter is not widely available in supermarkets and small retail shops; and consumers may need to spend a little bit of time to look for outlets that sell these.

Alternatively consumers can opt for margarine which is much cheaper than butter. For example in a Suva supermarket 500gram Canola Lite margarine is priced at $3.99 compared to 500gram Rewa butter at $8.95, a $4.66 (124%) price difference! Consumers purchasing 500gram butter will save approximately between $4.50 – $5.30, if they opt for equivalent amount of margarine.

Meanwhile, the Council is urging consumers to be aware of misrepresentation where some unscrupulous retailers will sell margarine labeled as “butter”. The Council in the past has dealt with complaints from consumers where some traders have sold margarine labeled as “butter”. As margarine is cheaper than butter these traders had cheated consumers by selling packed margarine pieces as butter and fetching the higher price.

Furthermore, consumers are urged to be extra careful when buying butter that has been cut and repacked by some shopkeepers. Repacked or re-cut butter carries high risk of contamination if the butter is repacked under unhygienic conditions.

Premila Kumar

Chief Executive Officer

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