The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is reviewing the prices of tamban, a type of fish used in making canned sardines, to determine whether or not a recent hike in sardine prices was justified.
Trade Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya said the price of tamban that five sardine brands cited in their notice to increase prices was not the same as what the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) had.
“The five brands used the same price of tamban as a basis for their increase, but the BFAR had a different price. We’re still studying the price,” she told reporters on the sidelines of the Franchise Asia 2011 International Conference.
Citing data contained in the notices filed by the sardine makers, she said tamban prices had increased by 50 percent. The BFAR, however, said tamban prices did not increase by that much.
“As we have no price control law, we can’t put a stop to any price adjustment. But if we don’t find (their price movement) justified, we can ask them to bring their prices back down,” she added.
Popular sardine brands Family, Ligo, Mega, and Youngstown had earlier informed the DTI that they would be raising their prices by 25-30 centavos a can. Another brand, 555, however, had informed the DTI of a 75-centavo hike.
Maglaya said the DTI was still trying to determine the reason behind 555’s bigger hike.
The 75-centavo price increase might be justified, she said, if it would be determined that Columbus Seafoods Corp., the maker of 555 Sardines, did not increase prices when its competitors did.
She noted, however, that Columbus had informed supermarkets that it would raise the price of 555 Sardines again by 30-40 centavos on October 1.
“Given the data that we have, I think an increase of 25-30 centavos should be enough,” she said.