Several food manufacturers will not raise prices of their Noche Buena products during the Christmas season, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) announced on Friday, a move seen to bring relief to consumers negatively affected by the coronavirus crisis.
In a Viber message, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez identified these products as meat products bearing the CDO, Century and Virginia Foods brands. He said other brands had heeded his department’s call “to keep [their current] prices in view of the [coronavirus] pandemic and hardships of many Filipinos.”
“Brands such as Lady’s Choice, Clara Ole, UFC [and] Alaska [also] confirmed to us that they won’t increase their prices for their Noche Buena products,” he added.
According to him, the DTI expects more food companies to maintain prices of their Noche Buena items stable during the upcoming holidays.
Such products are widely regarded as staples of Christmas midnight dinners, including ham, queso de bola and fruit salad; or used as ingredients in cooking dishes for these traditional family dinners, including milk, tomato sauces and noodles.
The announcement comes after Lopez earlier said price increases of some “Noche Buena” items and canned goods were subject to DTI assessment.
He added that some manufacturers of these products had requested increasing their prices by less than 1 percent to 3 percent.
“Every year, there are brands requesting for price adjustment to cover the increases in costs. But in our experience also, out of the over 20 brands, usually there are about five” that make that request, the Cabinet official said.
The DTI’s Consumer Protection Group is the one studying if the request is reasonable, he added.
“If not, the requested [price increase] will be adjusted [to a reasonable amount]. At the end of the day, consumers are advised to really select the products that we can consider value for money,” Lopez said.
Besides Noche Buena items, he said some manufacturers of canned goods also requested to raise prices, which the department was also studying.
“We cannot automatically approve [price adjustments] in the SRP (suggested retail price), especially if these are included in the basic necessity and prime commodities,” Lopez said.
“Those not [on] the list are open to do so, but for price adjustments covered in the SRP list, [the] DTI is closely monitoring these to protect consumers,” he added.