Image: The Straits Times
The price of eggs has gone up by as much as 20 per cent, but many bakeries and patisseries are absorbing the additional cost of producing Christmas cookies and cakes.
Customers, however, may have to pay more for Chinese New Year goodies if there is no let-up in egg prices.
The price increase was sparked off by a series of bans on imports from three farms in Malaysia, after Salmonella enteritidis, a bacterium which causes food poisoning, was detected in their eggs. The most recent ban took place in September.
SundayLife! spoke to 14 bakeries, ranging from well-known chains and hotels to cafes and neighbourhood cake shops.
Most said they would not increase prices of log cakes and pastries and will monitor egg prices for the next one to two months before deciding.
One of them is Pantler, a patisserie in Telok Ayer Street that opened in October. It offers four types of Christmas-themed cakes, including a strawberry shortcake.
Its owner, Mr Matthias Phua, 28, says: “While it is a little annoying to pay more for eggs, changing prices of our products will make it confusing for customers, especially when we have been open for just six weeks.”
Sharing the same sentiment is Ms Chara Lum, owner of Ciel Patisserie, a French-style patisserie in Hougang Avenue 1. The 24-year-old says that her business can take the slight drop in profit margin for now and she will rather not pass the burden on to customers.
She adds: “Customers are already spending a lot of money this season, so it is not pleasant to also increase log cake prices.”
However, other bakeries are doing so.
One of them is The Pine Garden, formerly known as Pine Garden’s Cake, in Ang Mo Kio. It has increased prices for some of its log cakes by 6 to 7 per cent, compared to last year. A mango passionfruit log cake, for example, costs $43.50 this year, compared to $40.90 last year.
The marked-up prices were introduced last month. Its business development director, Mr Wei Chan, 42, says: “Prices of log cakes are bound to go up. Besides egg prices, I also have to factor in other increasing production costs, such as manpower levy, packaging, delivery and waste disposal.”
Another bakery upping prices is neighbourhood chain Bake Inc, which manages more than 15 outlets in various places such as Toa Payoh and Jurong West. It is planning to increase prices of log cakes by about 10 per cent when they go on sale on Dec 15, says its production manager, Mr Chong Ket Vun, 37.
Its log cakes, which are available in six flavours, such as blueberry and tiramisu, were priced from $32 for a 500g cake last year.
Despite the shortfall in supply, all the bakeries that SundayLife! spoke to say that their egg stocks remain consistent and are sufficient to cope with the festive demand.
A spokesman for The Ritz Carlton, Millenia Singapore says: “We procure our eggs from a local farm and have not experienced challenges with our egg supply.”
Prima Deli, which has more than 38 outlets islandwide, says that its egg supply has not been affected.
Its spokesman says: “We are working very closely with our suppliers and they are still managing to fulfil all our orders on time.”
However, some bakeries say that they may not be able to absorb the increases for Chinese New Year in February next year. Bake Inc is looking to increase prices of its goods by 10 per cent if egg prices do not fall.
Mr Chong says: “Eggs are an even more important ingredient for Chinese New Year goodies, as lots of them are required to make pineapple tarts, egg rolls and kueh lapis.”
Some consumers are not fazed by the change in prices of festive goodies.
Social media manager Frances Ang, 32, says: “It is good news that most places are absorbing the increase, or else I have to be more discerning in choosing which log cakes to buy.
“I am fine if it is a $1 to $2 increase for Chinese New Year goodies. I am quite generous with the budget as eating those goodies put me in a celebratory mood.”
Housewife Josephine Seetoh, 52, has noticed that prices of Chinese New Year goodies have been on the rise for the past two years.
“If their prices increase by more than $5 next year, I will have to turn to cheaper alternatives, such as looking out for early-bird promotions or visiting shops in Johor Baru.”