SINGAPORE: A report from the Singapore Department of Statistics (SingStat), published earlier this month, showed that the price of hawker food increased by 6.1 per cent last year, up from 5.7 per cent in 2022. 2023’s increase is the highest since 2008.

In comparison, from 2012 to 2022, the average rate of increase was just 2.2 per cent per year. Meals sold at food courts and coffee shops went up by 6 per cent, while at hawker centres, they increased by 6.1 per cent.

SingStat looked into the price of food at hawker centres, coffee shops, and foodcourts, analyzing 16 food items and beverages commonly sold in these venues using the consumer price index for hawker food.

The index measures average price changes of over 100 hawker food items from 1,700 stalls.

“Common food items driving the price increases at these establishments were economical rice, chicken rice, fishball noodles, and coffee/tea,” SingStat noted.

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They added that higher input costs, including more expensive raw food ingredients due to supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic and effects of the Russia/Ukraine conflict, drove up hawker food prices.

Hawker food inflation was highest in January/February 2023, at 8.3 per cent, but it had fallen significantly to 4.1 per cent last December.

The price of beverages rose the most (6.9 per cent) at hawker centers from 2022 to 2023, followed by noodle-based cooked food (6.2 per cent) and rice-based (5.4 per cent) cooked food.

At Food Courts and Coffee Shops, meanwhile, noodle-based cooked food (8.0 per cent) saw the highest price increase, followed by rice-based cooked food (6.5 per cent) and beverages (6.3 per cent).

For example, the average price of char kway teow rose from S$4.18 to S$4.52, while fish ball noodles went up from S$3.77 to S$4.13.

Screengrab/Singapore Department of Statistics (SingStat)

Chicken rice went up in price from S$3.48 to S$4.15, while economical rice or cai fan (one meat and two vegetables) rose from S$3.58 to S$3.82.

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Screengrab/Singapore Department of Statistics (SingStat)

Meanwhile, for beverage prices, coffee or tea without milk went up from S$1.14 to S$1.22, and canned drinks saw an increase from S$1.59 to S$1.71 from 2022 to 2023.

Screengrab/Singapore Department of Statistics (SingStat)

The Straits Times quotes SingStat as saying that fast food establishments saw a 7.7 per cent increase in the price of food items, while in restaurants, food prices went up by 5.9 per cent.

Dr Teo Kay Key, a research fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies, also highlighted the decreasing number of hawkers in Singapore, which could result in even more price increases for hawker centre food in the future. /TISG

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