Pinoy coco pandesal sought as substitute amid rising wheat prices

·2 min read
Freshly baked pandesal, a classic Filipino bread roll that is particularly eaten for breakfast in the Philippines. (Photo: Getty Images)
Freshly baked pandesal, a classic Filipino bread roll that is particularly eaten for breakfast in the Philippines. (Photo: Getty Images)

Pandesal, a popular bread and breakfast staple for Filipinos, now has another variation called “Pinoy coco pandesal” to cope with the rising prices of imported wheat flour.

The Pinoy coco pandesal uses coconut flour which is more calorie-dense than traditional grain-based flour, according to Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato de la Peña.

The new variant was an initiative of DOST, the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Philippine Baking Industry Group, and VCO Philippines.

“Our response (to the rising wheat flour prices and some problems in importation), we considered the possibility of using coconut flour which is high fiber, gluten-free, grain-free flour that is excellent for keto diets. Coconut flour contains naturally occurring dietary fiber," de la Peña said.

Members of the Philippine Baking Industry Group have joined the coco flour drive with packs of coco pandesal available at French Baker and PureGold supermarket outlets for P23.50.

According to De la Peña, the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) is also looking at other potential substitutes for wheat flour, such as sweet potato, cassava, banana, and arrowroot.

Wheat prices have increased by up to 165% over the past year. The bulk of the increase came after February 2022 while wheat prices hit an all-time high on May 17, according to Trading Economics.

The current price of wheat as of June 30 is $9.2710 per bushel.

Meanwhile, local prices of coconut flour range from P42 per kilogram for ordinary coco flour to P170 for the organic version.

The Philippine Association of Flour Millers has earlier said that while the supply of wheat-milled flour remains adequate for 2022, prices of flour are still expected to grow due to global factors such as the Ukraine-Russia war, India’s export ban, and drought in the United States.

Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. She advocates for animal welfare and press freedom. Follow her twitter @polarubyo for regular news and cat postings.

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