Maeil Dairy to hike prices this week

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Maeil Dairy to hike prices this week

Following price hikes by Seoul Milk, the nation’s largest dairy producer, Maeil Dairy announced yesterday it would raise the prices of its milk products this week.

The third-largest dairy manufacturer claimed that the price hike was inevitable because an Aug. 1 hike in the price of raw milk by 106 won ($0.09) per liter had caused it to lose 100 million won each day.

Seoul Milk raised its milk prices by 220 won per liter on Aug. 30, leading to speculation that its competitors would soon follow. The Maeil Dairy price hike will reportedly be 200 won per liter, slightly less than Seoul Milk’s rise, increasing the retail cost of one liter of milk to 2,550 won at large discount stores.

The scandal-ridden dairy producer Namyang Dairy also has confirmed that it will raise a liter of milk by 220 won, to 2,470 won, beginning Thursday. It is the first time that Namyang has announced a hike this year, following the public-relations bruising it took over the company’s harsh tactics in dealing with a regional distributor

“Since Aug. 1, when the raw price of milk jumped, our cumulative losses have exceeded 5 billion won,” said a Namyang official.

Other dairy producers, including Prumil, Dongwon F&B and Binggrae, have also announced similar price hikes to start on Thursday.

However, consumer groups are opposing the hikes and are expected to take their complaints to the Consumers Union of Korea today.

“Consumer organizations claim that it cannot accept a price hike of more than 145 won, the sum of the 106 won hike in the price of raw milk and 39.2 won for the processing costs for the dairy companies,” said Kim Yeon-hwa, the chairwoman of the Korea National Council of Consumer Organization.

BY KIM JUNG-YOON and KOO HEE-RYEONG [kjy@joongang.co.kr]

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