Consumers look set to shoulder higher food prices following recent hikes in the cost of key ingredients, particularly pork, the Commerce Ministry has reported. The ministry found that retail prices of many Thai-style fast-food dishes have already increased by around Bt5 per dish following a hike in the price of raw materials, in particular pork and other meats, and ahead of a rise in the LPG price scheduled for September.

The ministry reported that the price of pork at fresh markets rose to Bt140 per kilogram from an average of Bt130-135 per kilogram last month.

A swine-farming source said the rise in the price of pork was due to a drop in the supply of pigs after farmers cut back in response to an over-supply starting in the middle of last year. That oversupply led to huge losses among farmers.

"The retail price of pork is expected to increase this week as the farm-gate price of pigs has increased by Bt2-Bt3 a kilo. As a result, prices of some foods and other protein sources could rise along with rising pork prices," the source said. Farm-gate value is the net value of a product when it leaves the farm, after marketing costs have been subtracted.

The source said the farm-gate price of pigs is currently quoted at Bt67-Bt69 a kilo, up from Bt65 last week. The price could increase to more than Bt70 per kilo next week because of the lower supply. The supply of pigs has dropped below the significant 40,000-a-day threshold.

Wiboonlasana Ruamraksa, director-general of the Internal Trade Department, said the department does not yet see a need to intervene in the market. To help low-income consumers, the department will hold regular fairs to sell cheap products.

The department has put in place measures to keep the prices of Thai-style dishes at food courts at Bt25-35 per dish, Wiboonlasana said.