The watchdog’s Chief Executive, Gilly Wong, issued the warning at a press conference on Monday, after it found that prices of over 700 food and personal care products from four supermarket chains have already gone up by an average of 1.5 percent between June and November last year.
Among the products from ParknShop, Market Place by Jasons, Aeon and DCH Food Mart, average prices of bakery goods, cereals and spreads saw the steepest rise of 2.4 percent.
Wong said some supermarkets are offering less discounts as well.
She said prices will “inevitably” go up further in the near future.
“Hopefully if the pandemic can be more under-controlled, the flight cargoes can have more frequent flights…But in the near future, it is quite expected that the prices will continue to go up,” Wong said.
“But of course, for the products and goods that are shipped via railway or just by bus from the mainland, obviously they are least affected… So the way that you consume and what kind of products that you buy, probably you may have to make some adjustments,” she said.
The consumer watchdog noted it had been difficult for suppliers to ship the products to Hong Kong.
Still, it urged supermarkets to avoid jacking up prices of daily necessities during the pandemic, saying they should fulfill their corporate social responsibility by helping people tide over the tough times.
“We won’t blame anyone, because we heard from many suppliers already that, for the whole of last year, they have been fighting on how to get their products to be shipped into Hong Kong, because of the substantial reduction in flight capacity and different transportation modes, even via ship. This is something we understood,” Wong said.
“But on the other hand, because of the economic downturn and uncertainties, everybody is suffering. We believe the fact that we should suffer the pain together, including the suppliers and supermarket chains. They have to really control and guard about their price adjustments, to ensure that people can buy their daily necessities at affordable price levels,” she said.