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Turkey tails were a “good buy” in July, but most other food prices rose


Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Thirteen food commodities contributed to the increase in the Basic Food Index (BFI) for July this year, according to the BFI report released this past Friday by the Commerce Department’s Statistical Division.

The BFI, which is a monthly rapid assessment of basic food items to monitor the cost and availability of 20 food products in the community, shows that the cost of turkey tails — a favorite food item of many Samoans, decreased in July.

Nevertheless, according to the report, thirteen out of twenty food commodities contributed to a 1.7% increase for July and it’s also the inflation rate for that month.

 The 13 commodities with price increases are chicken legs (6.6%), soft drinks (5.3%), ice cream (4.2%), rice (3.6%), corned beef (3.5%), Sausage (3.1%), ramen (3.0%), eggs (2.6%), pork spare ribs (1.8%), sugar (1.2%), mayonnaise (1.1%), butter (0.3%) and fresh fish (0.2%).

The report also says that three food items — bottled water, canned tuna, and bread — remained constant throughout July, while four food commodities — fish, taro, green banana and turkey tails — had price decreases in July. The report didn’t provide data as to the percent of the decreases.

DOC explained that the trend in BFI and food costs has continued to rapidly increase the last 12 months. An annual comparison of the current BFI to the same month of last year shows that the basic food costs had increased by 21.8% — an average of about a 1.8% monthly increase in the past 12 months.

The July report, also cites what DOC calls “retraction” — which appears to correct or update annual comparisons for the BFI for April and June of 2022, from previous reports.

For the BFI for April, the new data shows that the annual comparison to the April 2021 BFI shows that basic food costs increased by 20.6% — an average of about 1.7% monthly increase.

Additionally, the BFI for June 2022 — compared to June 2021’s BFI — shows that the basic food costs increased by 21.2%, an average of about 1.8% monthly increase.

According to DOC, a total of 14 major to mid-sized retail stores have been selected for monitoring basic food costs on Tutuila island from the far-west side to the far-east side.

Several consumers contacted over the weekend have again told Samoa News that the prices are “slightly higher” for many of these food items — cited in the DOC report — at small “mom & pop” stores in the villages. And these are the stores frequently visited by customers and they are the ones that actually show the “real price of food” on Tutuila.