Do your Christmas shopping early, DTI official reminds consumers

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it has already received advisories from some manufacturers of Christmas products, noting that there will be price adjustments in October or November.

In a televised interview last Thursday, DTI-Consumer Protection Group (CPG) Undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo advised consumers anew to stock up on noche buena goods as early as now if they can afford to do so, while prices of Christmas goods are not yet moving. 

However, Castelo unveiled that some manufacturers have already told the DTI that there will be price adjustments on some of the Christmas goods. These price adjustments, she added, might take effect in October or November. 

“Meron na kasing mga notices na na-receive ang DTI kaya ang advice natin ay habang hindi pa tumataas ang presyo, bumili na sila kung kaya nila,” Castelo said on Thursday. 

“So ngayon merong mga advisories from manufacturers ng Christmas products natin na medyo gagalaw ‘yung preso niya. Hindi pa naman ngayon, sa October or November pa ‘yung effectivity,” Castelo added. 

The good news here, she said, is while the prices of some products will increase, there will also be goods whose prices are expected to fall. 

“Makers of ham, mayonnaise and sandwich spread notified of price increases. San Miguel/Magnolia signified some decrease on cheese,” Castelo told the BusinessMirror on Tuesday. 

Still, Castelo said consumers should wait for the Price Guide that the Trade department will release for the Noche Buena products, which will be out by the last week of October or early November. 

In an earlier interview, the trade official shared some tips on how to save money as the holiday season approaches, one of which is to stock up on holiday goods as early as now since majority of the Christmas products have long shelf-life.

This, she stressed, noting that most, if not all, consumers do not notice that prices are gradually increasing in the middle of the Christmas rush. 

Castelo also encouraged consumers to check the “promo packs” or the “bundles” which she said could help buyers save. Based on computations, she added, consumers could save from P20 to P70 if they buy bundled products. 

In November 2021, the DTI released a price guide of noche buena products including ham, keso de bola, cheese, sandwich spread, mayonnaise, pasta-spaghetti noodles, elbow and salad macaroni, spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, and all-purpose cream.

The noche buena SRP list last year showed that 110 shelf-keeping units (SKUs) retained their prices in 2020, while 20 SKUs saw price reductions. Moreover, the list included the SRPs for Christmas products in a variety of sizes to allow the public to shop according to their preferences and needs. 

To avoid panic buying and ensure value for money, the DTI advised the public last year to create a shopping list and refer to the noche buena SRP bulletin prior to visiting their preferred supermarket. 

In terms of the basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPCs), Castelo underscored DTI’s crucial role in assuring that prices remain stable amid the economic challenges. 

The trade undersecretary noted, “Ang pinakamalaking tulong talaga na binibigay sa consumers, we are able to temper kung ano man ‘yung increases nila hindi tayo pumapayag ng more than 10 percent na taas. Otherwise kasi ‘pag hindi ‘yan covered ng DTI, basta na sila magpresyo ng gusto nila.” 

Castelo stressed that the products included in the suggested retail price (SRP) bulletin are tempered or the price increases are regulated. 

She added that since the DTI just increased prices last August, “medyo hindi pa muna natin pagagalawin ‘yung presyo in the next few weeks siguro.” -30-  

Image credits: Roy Domingo