THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said prices rose for 152 items typically consumed during the Christmas feast, known in the Philippines as the Noche Buena, with cheese products leading the increase.
Assistant Trade Secretary for Consumer Protection Group Amanda F. Nograles said the majority of stock keeping units (SKUs) saw their prices raised by 1-5%.
Some 83 SKUs posted 1-5% increases, while 37 items became 6-10% more costly. The prices of 32 items were raised over 10%.
The DTI posts a price guide in the runup to the holidays, with this year’s edition listing 240 SKUs.
Prices were left unchanged for 34 SKUs, while 21 items recorded a decrease in price.
“It will be difficult to establish a trend because SKUs which had an increase and decrease are seen across all the 12 categories of the price guide,” Ms. Nograles said at a briefing on Tuesday.
“But the largest increase was seen in cheese products… other products that increased include sandwich spread, ham, fruit cocktail, queso de bola (Edam-style cheese), and mayonnaise,” she added.
Ms. Nograles said that the price increases were mainly due to the higher price of raw and packaging materials, as well as increasing power and distribution costs.
Prices were left unchanged for Virginia Brick Ham and Pear Shaped Ham, which had suggested prices of P198 per 500 grams and P345 per kilogram, respectively.
“In the Noche Buena Price Guide 2023, we would like to emphasize that our consumers are given the option for their noche buena meals,” Ms. Nograles said.
“Unlike the previous years, the DTI took a more proactive role this year by actively engaging all manufacturers of noche buena items and asking them to participate in the price guide,” she added.
Earlier this month, the DTI asked manufacturers and retailers of prime commodities to hold off price increases until the end of the year.
“Currently, 63 requests for price adjustments have been filed with the DTI, but we are currently in talks with them and most of them have committed to not raise their prices until Dec. 31,” Ms. Nograles said.
Separately, Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said the department is currently studying the state of competition in consumer products.
“I want to study to what extent competition in the consumer products market is happening in the Philippines,” he added.
He said that the study will determine whether an amendment to the Price Act is necessary and possibly determine the future of the suggested retail price (SRP) system.
“We want to pursue this study to explore whether the SRP does not promote competition (and to address) the notion that the government is interfering in the workings of the free market,” Mr. Pascual said. — Justine Irish D. Tabile