Factors for rising production costs include weakening ringgit, weather conditions and logistics of importing raw materials amid Ukraine,Gaza wars

PETALING JAYA: Those with a sweet tooth may now have to pay more for their favourite confectioneries as the price of cocoa powder and chocolate has increased significantly.

Trading Economics, which provides historical data and forecasts for 196 countries, said chocolate production prices skyrocketed fourfold in April to RM57,265.77 per ton compared with RM16,475.74 in March.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry enforcement division director-general Datuk Azman Adam told theSun that the price increase of confectioneries is due to the rising cost of raw materials.

He said other factors include the weakening ringgit, weather conditions and the logistics of importing materials due to the Ukranian-Russian and Gaza wars.

“The global cocoa price surge and shortage are affecting the entire supply chain, including local chocolate companies that are challenged to maintain affordable prices.

“However, the ministry does not regulate the prices of confectionery ingredients except for those controlled by legislation and during festive seasons under the Maximum Festive Season Price Scheme.”

Azman said the ministry had implemented Ops Catut under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011 specifically for bakery ingredients from March 20 to 24.

“Our enforcement operations revealed the price increase in bakery ingredients was due to rising purchase costs from suppliers. We did not find any unreasonable profiteering activities. If bakers and the public find unreasonable price hikes in confectionery ingredients, they can lodge complaints to the ministry’s platform.”

Baker Nur Aiman Baharuddin, 26, said the price hike has had a significant impact on her business as ingredients such as cream cheese and butter have also become more expensive.

“Cocoa-based ingredients have mostly risen by 30%. Cocoa powder used to be sold at only RM18 a kilogramme before Hari Raya, but now sells for almost RM40.”

She said with cocoa powder alone doubling in price, the overall cost of producing cakes and brownies has increased.

She also said when multiple ingredients experience price hikes simultaneously, it can put a strain on bakers and confectionery businesses.

“With the price increase, I am hard-pressed to buy all the ingredients at once,” she said, adding that she would struggle to cover costs and eventually have to raise prices of the products.

Aiman said the recent price increase is worrying, especially considering the strong possibility of price hikes in the future.

She said since cocoa is the main ingredient in confectioneries, adjusting the recipe she has invested years to perfect would compromise the quality and taste of her products.

“Maintaining quality is crucial and I refuse to compromise on this. If my customers understand and accept the price change, then well and good, but most will complain.

“Even now, I noticed customers buying less than they used to. There are usually orders for personal consumption but now, people only order cakes and other confectioneries for birthdays or celebrations.”

Aiman said the need to frequently raise her products prices is concerning as not many understands the complexities of her business.

“Many customers do not realise the expenses involved in running a bakery, from raw ingredients to overhead costs such as rent, utilities and labour.

“A lot of time and effort is spent in finding affordable and high-quality ingredients to ensure consistent product quality.”