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Food courts agree to freeze prices of 10 menu items

Leading modern trade operators yesterday agreed with the Commerce Ministry's Internal Trade Department to freeze the prices of 10 Thai-style fast-food dishes at their food courts, to cooperate in the effort to ease consumers' costs during a difficult period.

The price freezes will go into effect on May 29 and remain in place for six months.

The traders responded after consumers filed many complaints to the department about high prices at their food courts.

Santichai Santawanpas, deputy director-general of the department, said the ministry had found that retail prices of many dishes had increased by around Bt5 last year compared with 2012, driven up by the rising costs of raw materials, particular meats. Cooking gas has also been going up since September 2012.

"At least consumers will have some choices now.

"If they want a cheap meal, food courts will have them on offer, starting at Bt25 per dish," Santichai said.

However, prices of the 10 selected menu items will differ between discount stores and department stores.

For instance, a serving of rice with curry (with one side dish) at discount stores such as Big C, Tesco Lotus and Tops Supermarket will cost Bt30-Bt35, but at department stores including Central and The Mall, it will be Bt35-Bt40.

The price for rice with curries (two side dishes) and pad kra-phao (pork or chicken with basil, rice and noodles) will be Bt35-Bt40 at discount stores, but Bt5 more at department stores.

Santichai said the department did not yet see a need to intervene in the market.

To help low-income consumers, it will ask enterprises to offer choices for consumers.

The department has also put in place measures to keep the prices of Thai-style dishes at some food traders at Bt25-Bt35 per serving, he said.

It has also asked for the Education Ministry's cooperation to monitor food prices at school canteens after some parents complained about rising food prices at some schools.


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