Saimini continues to have biggest price jump in Sept food basket
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — For the second month in a row, Ramen noodles had the greatest price increase and is one of the fourteen food commodities, which contributed to the 3.2% increase in the Basic Food Index (BFI) for September 2022, according to the BFI report for September released Oct. 11 by the Commerce Department’s Statistical & Analysis Division.
For September’s BFI, the report shows that ramen increased in price 12.8% — which is slight lower than the 14.7% price increase in August. A price comparison chart included in the report shows that the Ramen (85g) package had the average price of $0.36 in July but jumped to $0.42 in August, while the average price in September was $0.47.
Turkey tails, a favorite delight for Samoans — was $2.10 a pound in July but dropped down to $2.06 in August and remains the same average price — at $2.06 a pound in September, according to the average price chart comparison in the report.
Besides ramen, the other food commodities that increased in September are chicken legs (4.7%), mayonnaise (4.6%), ice cream (4.1%), rice (3.8%), fresh milk (2.1%), canned tuna (1.9%), corned beef (1.2%), sugar (1.1%), butter (0.9%), soft drinks (0.7%), eggs (0.5%), sausage (0.4%) and fresh fish (0.3%).
Three food commodities (bread (-0.1%), taro (-0.6%), and pork spare ribs (-1.2%) had price decreases in September. However, turkey tails, water, and banana remained constant throughout September, the BFI report says.
DOC notes that the trend in BFI food items was rapidly climbing over the last twelve months. An annual comparison of the current BFI to the same month of last year showed that basic food costs had increased by 26.6%: an average of about a 2.2% monthly increase in the past 12 months.
The BFI is a monthly rapid assessment of basic food item prices that monitors the cost and availability of 20 food products in the community. And 14 large to mid-size retail stores have been selected for monitoring basic food costs.
A reminder from DOC: The BFI is not to be confused with the Quarterly Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is a comprehensive standard measure of inflation and the cost of living in American Samoa. (See Samoa News edition Oct 11 for a look at the 3rd quarter CPI for 2022.)
The latest BFI and CPI reports confirm the long-standing concerns by consumers — as well as lawmakers — that the price of many basic food items remains high but two ASG officials — who are not with DOC — told Samoa News that this trend is expected to continue throughout the year, and reminds the public that American Samoa depends on imports for many commodities including fuel.
Ramen noodles, fondly known as saimini by us locals, continue to be the ‘cheapest’ meal for the family. However, it used to cost 5 for a dollar, it’s now sold individually with the latest price being around 47¢ each.
Saimini can be eaten plain — just sprinkle the flavor or soup base packet that comes with the package over the noodles and add hot water. Other ingredients can be added to the soup: local favorites are ‘vienna-sausage’, eggs, cabbage, left-overs, etc. Another favorite would be to stir-fry the noodles after they’re cooked in hot water with ingredients and flavorings of your choice. Soy sauce is a favorite for added flavor.
The meal can take less than 5 minutes to prepare and cook or … the noodles can be eaten raw with the soup base packet sprinkled over the raw noodles for ‘taste’ [not recommended, but often a snack for students].