Consumer’s Foundation blasts ‘unreasonable’ retail cost for ‘zongzi’
The Consumer’s Foundation (CF, ) yesterday urged the government to probe “unreasonable” retail pricing on ingredients used to make “zongzi,” the sticky rice dumplings traditionally eaten during Dragon Boat Festival.
The Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee (CPC,
) has reported that prices for 40 percent of zongzi ingredients are more expensive this year compared to the same period last year. Findings were based on a random sampling of ingredients at seven hypermarkets.
The ingredient prices were marked up at the hypermarkets themselves and are not due to inflation at farms, according to the CPC.
According to a different survey released by the Council of Agriculture (COA, ), farm prices for most major ingredients have stayed the same or gone down compared to the same period last year.
According to the COA, farm prices for dried mushrooms have declined by 9.6 percent, peanuts by 36.9 percent, pork by 8.3 percent and wholesale dried squid by 17.4 percent.
Duck eggs are the only traditional ingredient that has seen a significant price increase — of 5.4 percent — compared to the same period last year. The wholesale price for glutinous rice has risen only slightly by 0.9 percent while dried shrimp costs about the same, according to the COA survey, which was released three weeks before Dragon Boat Festival.
The CF yesterday urged the Fair Trade Commission ( ) to monitor “unreasonable” retail pricing for key ingredients ahead of the festival.
“It is the responsibility of the government to stabilize retail prices over festivals. The results of these surveys show that pricing is unreasonable,” CF Honorary Chairman Hsieh Tien-jen ( ) said yesterday. “Has government
at hypermarkets weakened?” he asked.
In the past, even when the prices of raw materials shot up, retailers would abide by central government directions and keep prices reasonable for consumers. This time, it seems that the middleman is enriching itself excessively, he said.
“If the Executive Yuan does not order the Fair Trade Commission to investigate which companies are inflating the prices, then what is the point of the Fair Trade Commission?” Hsieh said.