July 30, 2019: – The Consumer Affairs Division (CAD) wishes to remind consumers of Trinidad and Tobago to be vigilant and make informed and wise decisions while shopping. The Division is urging consumers to support and shop local by purchasing locally produced foods given the increasing cost of imported items. Planning meals around foods that are local and in season can help consumers save. Buying local food will boost the economy and support local farmers and entrepreneurs. One should be mindful that while in the past, imported food prices were determined mainly by consumer demand and manufacturer supply, today many other factors influence the cost such as climate conditions, transport costs, labour costs and diseases/pests.

Consumers are also encouraged to grow their own food due to price increases of fruits and vegetables. The Division is recommending that consumers get involved in home gardening of high yield, low-cost crops such as herbs, tomatoes, lettuce, greens, peppers and root crops. Participation in modern agricultural practices such as hydroponic gardening for increased production, efficient use of water and space, and enhanced nutritional value are also recommended.

Consumers are reminded that as part of its mandate to ensure fair pricing in the marketplace, the CAD continues to monitor the prices of items at supermarkets in Trinidad and also in Tobago through the Tobago House of Assembly’s unit, on a monthly basis. A Retail Price Survey is conducted monthly for one hundred and eighteen (118) selected food items across thirty – nine (39) supermarkets in twenty (20) areas in Trinidad. A similar exercise is conducted by the Consumer Affairs Unit (CAU) of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) at eight (8) supermarkets in Tobago. The selected products, which impact consumers across all income groups, were derived from a ‘Basket of Goods Survey’ conducted by the Consumer Affairs Division. These products comprise a basket of basic food items that consumers purchase regularly.

On this basis and in general, consumers should continue to engage in price comparisons while shopping and be guided by the monthly supermarket prices publication issued by the Consumer Affairs Division (CAD) of the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) on the Ministry’s website (https://tradeind.gov.tt/supermarket-prices-tnt-july2019/) and on its social media platforms.

As the Division continues to empower and educate consumers of their rights and responsibilities, consumers are reminded that the power of choice to determine whether to purchase an item and from whom to purchase lies in the hands of the consumer. In this regard, consumers are encouraged to pay special attention to the prices of non-essential food items and make wise purchasing choices. To learn more about the Division, please contact us at 623-2931 extension 6150 or 800-4CPS, send a message on our Facebook page @consumeraffairstt or email consumeraffairs@gov.tt