While customers are celebrating the new low cost of milk, producers say it cannot be sustained unless the entire cost of production is examined.
“It’s about time,” said several customers when a Barbados TODAY team sought their views on the cut in price of some Pine Hill Dairy milks.
When the team visited supermarkets this morning, all the customers interviewed said they were very pleased about the new price, though it was said to be a limited time offer.
At most groceries across the island PHD Whole, 2% and Vanilla milks were on special for $3.99.
Pensioner Ester Scott said she was pleased about the special and hoped the new price would remain, so people like her, on a restricted budget, could still eat and live healthily. She said that before she was unable to buy every week, but now that the price had dropped, she would buy two boxes a week.
Theresea Barnett, a customer of SuperCentre Warrens, also agreed that it was a very good idea. She said: “Milk was going up very high to a point that it was not affordable for the average Bajan; but the prices now are excellent. Once upon a time I would buy one box, when I saw the price I bought three. I buy 2 litres per week . . . . I drink a lot of milk; then there are still the others in the house.”
Another customer, Deborah, who said she preferred Tutti Frutti charged that the special should have included all flavoured PHD milks.
Two sisters, who declined to give their names, were appreciative of the new price, but questioned the “real” motives for the drop.
“They have to get rid of the milk somehow, so they have to do something. Rather than get rid of the excess milk, this is an effort to let Barbadians have milk at a reduced rate. It is like a farmer who takes his produce to market, and rather than take back home the same produce to spoil, lets it go at a cheaper rate,” the first sister said.
The other added: “From almost $7 to $4, I’m not too sure about that. I would think twice [before I buy that milk]. Why the sudden drop? . . . .”
Retailers, nevertheless, were reaping rewards from the initiative.
A representative of SuperCentre, who did not go into detail, said the specially priced milk was selling “extremely” well.
At Popular Supermarket, without giving away too much also, a rep said sales were going well. With the special having begun there about four weeks ago, he said he noticed that customers who normally bought one one-litre box were buying up to four at a time.
A salesperson at Trimart revealed that the supermarket’s fastest sellers were the Vanilla and Whole milks.
She added: “Sales have most definitely increased . . . . Up to Monday we received 100 cases of Vanilla and Whole milk; today we have about 20 cases left. I guess Bajans are pocket-wise these days, so I would hope [the price] remains because I, myself, buy the milk and it is working out very well on my pocket.”
Although customers and retailers would like the special to run longer, PHD director Richard Cozier told Barbados TODAY that this week would be the last for the special. He said: “All specials most come to an end. That is why they are called specials.”
Cozier noted that through a partially funded Government subvention the PHD was able to sell the milk below market value, but that this could not be sustained, since the dairy continued to pay farmers full price for their milk.
“The public wants to pay $3 to $4 for the milk [but] we have to pay the farmers and the cost of collect[ion] is more than $4. That is a recipe for disaster. Unless we can address the cost of production, the cost of milk will always be an issue,” he stressed. (KC)