The prices of “noche buena” staples, like Christmas ham, milk, cheese, and all-purpose cream, have started to go up due to the rising cost of raw materials used in manufacturing these goods.
Undersecretary Ruth Castelo, head of the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) consumer protection group, said in a TV interview on Wednesday that the price of milk and all-purpose cream increased by P7 to P15, depending on the brand.
Castelo, who earlier went around several supermarkets in Metro Manila to monitor the prices of goods, added that the hike was based on last year’s price guide, indicating year-on-year changes.
“Ten out of 20 manufacturers advised us of increases. Our appeal to them is to increase by the absolute minimum to make the products more affordable to consumers,” she said in a separate message sent to reporters.
Based on Castelo’s monitoring, price hikes were also observed for the following food items: Christmas ham (by P25 to P45), mayonnaise (by P20 to P50), and cheese (by P6 to P16).
The DTI official earlier said that the agency does not regulate the prices of these goods and can issue only a price guide, which is different from the suggested retail price.
“It’s a guide that we cannot enforce because these products are not prime or basic goods. It’s a seasonal product which we issue advisories for,” Castillo said.
She also advised the public to shop for noche buena food items early, saying it was better to buy these in small amounts ahead of the holiday rush.