Thailand: TCC wants say in noodle price review

The Thailand Consumers Council (TCC) is calling on the government to ensure transparency as it mulls a request by five instant noodle brands to increase the product price by 2 baht per packet, or up to 30%.

The move should be supported by data as to why it is necessary now, or else the price rise will simply add up to more profits for the firms, the country’s five largest instant noodle brands, said Saree Aungsomwang, secretary-general of the TCC.

The companies post profits while drawing on ingredients which are price-controlled by the Department of Internal Trade, she said. Since these prices have not gone up, she asked how the companies could claim their costs of production are higher. The TCC has asked to sit on behalf of consumers on the department’s committee vetting the request. “The instant noodle index is an indicator of living costs and the department’s efficiency,” she said.

As the department is expected to approve a 1 baht rise from the current 6 baht per packet, orders have already doubled, said Somchai Pornrattanacharoen, president of the Thai Wholesale and Retail Trade Association. The surge is seen as an indicator of product hoarding.

Pun Paniangvait, manager of the president’s office at Thai President Foods Plc, manufacturer of Mama instant noodles, insisted the price rise is in line with increased production costs.