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Yule be glad: No increase in spaghetti, cheese prices

/ 04:44 AM November 09, 2019

Time for an early Christmas shopping.

The prices of 134 “noche buena” products, such as pasta and queso de bola, have not gone up at all this year, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

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In a statement on Friday, the DTI said the 134 products identified were different brands of cheese, sandwich spread, mayonnaise, spaghetti, elbow and salad macaroni, spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce and creamer. Six brands even reduced prices (two product lines of Danes Cheese Ball, Amigo Segurado Spaghetti, La Filipina Spaghetti, Del Monte Filipino-style sauce and original sauce).

A total of 92 products, however, increased their SRPs, including ham. Almost all brands for this Christmas staple increased their prices.

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For example, a 500-gram King Sue Hawaiian Ham Loaf—one of the most affordable products in the list—costs P3 more at P140. A 1-kilogram CDO Chinese Ham now costs P1,025—a P76 increase from last year.

Trade Undersecretary Ruth Castelo had said the hike in the SRP of ham was in part due to the African swine fever (ASF) outbreak in China, which forced companies to source elsewhere. ASF, which has also affected meat producing provinces in the Philippines, is lethal to hogs but not to humans.

Explaining the seeming disconnect in prices and demand, Castelo had said: “Prices of pork go up because retailers want to instantly gain and raisers [want] to recoup their losses, which in the end will work against them because consumers no longer buy when you combine the ASF scare and the high price.”

Nevertheless, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez noted that while premium brands increased their prices, brands for mass-based markets didn’t usually move.

“This is due to their fear of competition and the probability of losing market share in a price sensitive segment,” said the trade chief.

The DTI only issues the SRPs of noche buena products to serve as price guide for consumers as they prepare for the holidays. Noche buena products are not considered part of the basic necessities and prime commodities basket and as such not under any price control.

Lopez advised consumers to purchase their noche buena and “media noche” needs at supermarkets, since the prices there were monitored by the DTI. He also suggested to “watch out for promo bundle packs in the promo section.”

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“It is advised to do the Christmas grocery shopping early and avoid the holiday rush.” —ROY STEPHEN C. CANIVEL

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