Agencies to probe increases in price of milk powder
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-05-01 03:02 PM
The price of raising a family in Taiwan continues to rise, with the cost of most foods up and the price of milk products leading the way. The latest round of price hikes brought at least one jump of nearly NT$100 in the cost of one can of milk powder. Skyrocketing prices have many young consumers in Taiwan seriously considering the challenges of feeding and clothing new additions to the family. With milk powder breaking through the NT$1000 mark for a single can many families are worried they will not be able to afford more mouths at the table, putting even more downward pressure on an already low birthrate in Taiwan.

Abbott, Carlotani and Babycare, three of the leading suppliers of milk powder in Taiwan, have all hiked their prices recently, raising prices up to 7.7% in one instance, an upward adjustment of nearly NT$100. One product from Abbott, the 1650g can of Classic 3 milk powder, soared well past the NT$1000 mark to nearly NT$1100, adding to a burgeoning shopping bill for young families.

At practically the same time Babycare announced that the tab for its hydrolyzed protein milk powder for children was being raised from NT$600 to NT$680 while Carlotani’s hydrolyzed milk powder for infants and children are going up by an average of NT$80 per can.

These prices are big enough and came close together enough to raise eyebrows at the Fair Trade Commission, which says it will investigate whether any collusion between suppliers is involved.

Legislator Wang Yu-min warned that unbridled rises in the cost of basic foods for infants and children are causing many people to re-consider having children. She urged the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) and the Ministry of Economic Affairs to take the initiative to require relevant agencies to investigate and determine whether the constant price hikes being imposed by importers and suppliers are justified.

The Ministry of the Interior estimates that Taiwan will welcome some 190,000 newborns this year, about 4 percent less than last year. With the price of infant formula and milk barreling upwards, however, the figures could wind up even lower by the end of the year. Wang Yu-min notes that currently as many as 154,000 double-income families with children in Taiwan are eligible payments under the child allowance plan, leaving more than 80% of families in the class without any support. She said that MOHW should conduct an overall review of childcare allowance policies to ensure that all who need assistance will receive it in order to reduce their burden of bringing up a child in Taiwan.

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