Prices of noche buena items expected to rise

By Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 02 2011 04:01 PM | Updated as of Nov 03 2011 01:54 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Consumers should start stocking up on "noche buena" staples like ham, spaghetti, fruit cocktail and cheese, since the prices of these products will likely rise as Christmas season nears.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it will publish the suggested retail prices (SRP) of several Christmas staples on Friday. These will serve as the final SRP until the end of the year.

Trade Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya said consumers should already begin buying products such as ham, macaroni, spaghetti, mayonnaise, cheese, fruit cocktail and condensed milk, which are not likely to spoil before Christmas.

Maglaya said consumers can even buy ham in advance as long as they make sure that the expiration date is after the holidays. Consumers should also make sure the product is stored properly to prevent spoilage.

Asked if prices are going up before the holiday season, Maglaya said yes, but the price increases should not go beyond the SRP.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Association of Supermarkets is urging consumers to buy Philippine-made products for their noche buena.

Philippine Association of Supermarkets vice president Federico Ples said that there are locally-made ham, cheese, pasta, milk and mayonnaise products that are usually cheaper than their imported counterparts.

Ples agreed with the DTI that consumers should now purchase these items if they have extra cash. This way, consumers can avoid the Christmas rush in supermarkets.

Aside from food items, consumers can also start buying gift items as early as now such as handkerchiefs, hair clips and other personal items.