Updated | Price of Benna fresh milk to increase

The price of the traditional one-litre light blue milk carton will increase by 11c • Malta Consumer and Consumer Affairs Authority says it will be investigating price hike

All Benna fresh milk products will increase in price
All Benna fresh milk products will increase in price

Milk producer Benna has announced that the prices of all its fresh milk products will increase by the end of the month. A one-litre carton of whole milk will go up by 10c, while the traditional light blue carton will increase by 11c.

In a statement, the company - Malta Dairy Products - said that the price increase was being implemented to allow it to continue offering a good quality product the consumers while running its operation feasbily. 

Over the past seven years, despite milk prices having remained stable, the cost of cow feed, as well as other operational expenses had continued to increase.

“During this period, the consumer continued to benefit from a broader range of milk products that match the highest EU standards,” it said.

Malta Dairy Products added that the adjustment was necessary in order to for dairy farmers operation to remain feasible. It would also help sustain farmers that grow feed, which covers 39.3% of agricultural land in Malta and 68.8% in Gozo.

It said it was limited the adjustment to the level of the general increase in the price of food as issued by Eurostat during the last seven years, insisting that it would also be further expanding the range of products available to consumers.

The company added that its fresh milk would remain “very competitively priced” when compared to milk sold in other EU countries. 

“Malta Dairy Products Ltd. is confident that customers will understand the importance of sustaining the local dairy and agricultural sectors and will continue supporting the supply of fresh milk and fresh milk products which are superior in taste, nutritional value and quality,” the company said.

It thanked customers for the “continuous loyalty towards Benna products.

READ MORE: Milk shortage: rationing costing grocers their small clienteles

MCCA to investigate price hike 

In a statement following Benna's announcement, the Office for Competition clarified that "in a competitive market, Malta Dairy Products is free to establish the pricing of its products". 

"Having said this, the Office considers the Benna fresh milk product range may hold a strong market position. In such a scenario, any price increase cannot be excessive to the detriment of consumers," the MCCA said. 

It said that following the first indications of potential price increases, the Office for Competition held a meeting with Malta Dairy Products, who it said were advised that, should any price increase takre place, the office would require details about how the price increase was established. 

This, it said, was "further followed up with Malta Dairy Products in the past months". 

"The office will be initiating an investigation to examine whether the actual increase in the price of milk is a result of abuse of a dominant position and in breach of the Competition Act". 

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