Price hike hits Meals on Wheels
By Alex Easton email@example.com NORTHERN Rivers Meals on Wheels organisations will consider dumping their local kitchen to avoid passing on a jump in the wholesale cost of their meals.
North Coast Area Health Service, which provides meals for the Lismore, Mid-Richmond and Ballina Meals on Wheels services, has announced it will lift the wholesale prices of its meals next month and in July.
Health service chief executive Chris Crawford said the increases were forced by rising food, and production costs. Even after next month, the health service would be selling the meals for less than it cost to make them.
Mr Crawford said money saved through the increases would go to clinical care and the new fees would still be lower than commercial alternatives.
However, Lismore Meals on Wheels Services manager Cathie Eames said she had been getting meals from a Perth company, Gourmania, at the same price as the health service despite the fact they had to be shipped across the country. Gourmania had no plans to lift its prices.
Ms Eames said Lismore Meals on Wheels would absorb the cost increase when it came, but she was also looking for suppliers to replace the health service.
The Casino and Evans Head-based Mid-Richmond services said they would have to pass on the price rises. Both were watching Ms Eames' search for new suppliers with interest.
Gourmania chief executive and owner Beat Schlegel said he kept his prices down through greater efficiency and suggested the North Coast Area Health Service's prices might be lower if it were trying to make a profit.
Mr Schlegel said Gourmania used a combination of more efficient work practices, bulk buying and selling and better equipment to reduce its costs.
He said it was critical Meals on Wheels prices remain low or it risked losing customers or worse customers who risked their health trying to save money by splitting a single meal across lunch and dinner.