November 24 ------ A total of 195 shelf keeping units (SKUs) or product variants of Noche Buena products have raised prices with almost half increased their prices by more than 10 percent and the rest with minimal hikes of one to 10 percent on higher cost of imported and local materials, packaging and overhead costs.
The Noche Buena Price Guide published by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) listed a total of 12 products comprising a total of 223 SKUS. These are ham, fruit cocktail, cheese, keso de bola, mayonnaise, sandwich spread, pasta, elbow macaroni, salad macaroni, spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, and cream or all-purpose cream.
Of the total SKUs, 94 have raised prices by more than 10 percent from the previous price guide last year. These include ham (3 SKUs or price difference; spaghetti sauce (23 SKUs), elbow macaroni (19), pasta (13), salad macaroni (9), tomato sauce (9), cheese and mayonnaise (5 SKUs each), keso de bola (4), sandwich spread (2), and cream (1). A total of 51 SKUs have increased prices by six to ten percent while the remaining 50 SKUs effected one to five percent price hike. Only ham registered decreases in prices of two SKUs. Eight SKUs have no changes, including ham 4 SKUs, mayonnaise 2 SKUs, and sandwich spread 2 SKUs.
DTI said that manufacturers of these Noche Buena products intend to keep their prices until the end of this year. DTI further explained that Noche Buena products are not categorized as basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPCs) under Republic Act No. 7581, as amended by RA 10623 and therefore not regulated by the agency. As such, the DTI just conducts price and supply monitoring activities for these items during the 4th quarter of the year to guide consumers in buying Noche Buena products for the holiday season. The DTI, however, releases suggested retail price (SRP) bulletin on BNPCs. The latest SRP Bulletin on BNPCs was released on August 12 this year where 67 SKUs out of 218 have raised their prices.
To date, the Consumer Protection and Advocacy Bureau of DTI has received notices of adjustments for a total of 55 SKUs (25 SKUs food, 29 KSUs non-food), or 25 percent of the 218 SKUs from 15 manufacturers due to high cost of imported and local materials, packaging manufacturers and overhead charges. DTI Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual, who is also chairman of the National Price Coordinating Council (NPCC) as mandated under the Price Act lead the roll-out of Ikot Palengke Program “Tamang Timbang, Tamang Presyo Para sa Mamimiling PilipinO” in Marikina City.
The program aimed to establish actual bases for sound and rational recommendation on price ceiling for certain basic necessities and prime commodities and assist the other implementing agencies in leveling other economic issues through market monitoring. The program is also expected to heighten consumer awareness through market visibility, which aimed at spreading advocacy on consumer protection. This will be Pascual’s first palengke tour since appointment as DTI Secretary in July this year. For the start of the Ikot Palengke program, the DTI Secretary will head the skilled and experienced monitoring task force of the Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau in visiting wet market to check accuracy of weights and prices of essential goods in support of consumers especially during this holiday season.
Pascual will also visit supermarkets to inspect prices and supplies of BNPCs including Noche Buena products. DTI said that price monitors will continue and intensify efforts especially, especially leading up to Christmas and the New Year.