Government announces 20% rise in price of regulated bread

Affected products include sliced and unsliced white and dark loaves, challah; economy minister vows to lower prices once cost of raw materials goes down

Tobias (Toby) Siegal is a breaking news editor and contributor to The Times of Israel.

White sliced bread seen at the Angel Bakeries Factory in Jerusalem, August 16, 2010. (Abir Sultan/Flash90/File)
White sliced bread seen at the Angel Bakeries Factory in Jerusalem, August 16, 2010. (Abir Sultan/Flash90/File)

The Economy and Industry Ministry announced Wednesday that the price of government-regulated bread would rise by 20 percent in light of the global rise in food prices, which affects production costs in Israel.

The Finance Ministry’s Price Committee is expected to convene Thursday to approve the decision, which would come into effect as soon as Sunday.

Supervised bread products include sliced and unsliced white and dark loaves, as well as challah.

For reference, the price of dark bread, sliced or unsliced, is NIS 7.11. After the expected increase the same products will cost NIS 8.51.

Announcing the price hike, Economy and Industry Minister Orna Barbivai stressed that despite the expected rise, basic bread products will still be under government supervision, preventing further price hikes by retailers.

“I intend to continue to work to improve the system and guidelines that relate to price hikes of supervised products,” Barbivai said Wednesday, vowing to take “social considerations and the welfare of the public” into account when determining the expected price hikes.

“I call on retail stores to consider a partial increase of the price of supervised bread so as to show some consideration for consumers,” she said, vowing that “once the prices of raw materials go down again, I will pressure the Price Committee to lower the price of supersized bread.”

Economy and Industry Minister Orna Barbivai attends a conference in Modi’in, May 26, 2022. (Flash90)

Barbivai added: “Supervised bread is a basic consumer good that provides many families with significant nutrition and as such must be available in every household.”

Itzhak Berman, CEO of Berman’s Bakery, one of the largest in Israel, welcomed Barbivai’s announcement, telling Israel’s daily Israel Hayom, “It’s the least we deserve.”

Berman argued that the increase was not significant for consumers, but very important for the industry.

“They’ve made a big deal out of this,” he said, adding that 1,000 of his employees faced termination of employment had the prices not gone up.

Barbivai’s announcement comes days after the Angel Bakery, considered the largest bakery in Israel, announced that it will be raising the prices of bread products that are not under government regulation by 8-12%.

Illustrative: Haredi consumers buy bread after Passover at a bakery in Jerusalem, April 30, 2016. (Shlomi Cohen/Flash90)

Meanwhile, the Israel Electric Corporation said Monday that electricity prices will rise by nearly 10% next month.

The authority blamed the price hike on the global energy crisis, which began in 2021, and has been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. It includes a dramatic rise in the cost of hydrocarbons needed for power plants, despite the fact that Israel now extracts its own natural gas for export.

The 9.6% price rise, set to go into effect as of August 1, must still win final approval, expected sometime in the next two weeks.

If approved, the increase is expected to also affect the price of water, as Israel’s national water company Mekorot relies heavily on power provided by the Electric Corporation.

The price hikes, which don’t seem to be moderating, have also reached Israel’s egg industry, with prices of government-supervised eggs increasing by 6.5% over the weekend. For reference, 12 large eggs that used to cost consumers NIS 12.40 will now cost NIS 13.10.

The last time the prices of supervised eggs were raised was in 2019 when the prices rose by 1.44% only.

Dairy products under government price regulation have recently increased by 4.9%.

Michael Horovitz contributed to this report. 

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