A couple shops at a supermarket in Makati City. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ RUSSELL PALMA

Filipinos are expected to spend more on food and beverage items again this holiday season despite economic challenges, according to marketing data and analytics company Kantar.

Data from Kantar Philippines, released on Thursday, showed a 7% spending uplift in fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) from December last year to January, versus the rest of the year.

The food and beverage categories saw an 11% and 9% spending increase, respectively, Kantar said in an e-mailed statement. Spending on dairy products also grew by 6%.

“While the Christmas spirit is felt as early as September, Christmas spending in the FMCG segment typically starts in December when Filipinos receive additional disposable income through 13th month bonuses and other incentives,” said Nino C. Nierva, account director at Kantar Philippines Worldpanel Division.

“Despite economic challenges, families will continue with their Noche Buena and Media Noche traditions but with compromises in their brand choices,” he said on persisting value-consciousness among consumers to cope with rising prices and enjoy the celebrations.

Headline inflation accelerated to 6.1% in September from 5.3% in August but slowed from 6.9% in September 2022, preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed.

The heavily weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages index rose to a seven-month high of 9.7% in September from 8.1% in August. Food inflation alone soared to 10% from 8.2% a month ago.

“Inflation continues to impact FMCG in terms of pack size and brand choices,” Kantar said. “Household strapped for cash may downsize or buy less quantity of holiday meal staples… and may choose to purchase more affordable brands.”

Mr. Nierva suggested retailers to release holiday promotions or bundle packs, helping consumers save this season.

Kantar noted shopping basket staples that registered growth in December last year, which include spreads (34%), canned fruits (25%), alcoholic beverages (24%), noodles and pasta sauces (21%), lechon sauce (17%), condensed milk (9%), mayonnaise (8%), and all-purpose cream (6%).

On average, Filipinos spend P1,309 per month in sari-sari stores during the holidays, while seven in 10 households spend P1,559 in hyper and supermarkets, Kantar said.

Additionally, Kantar said Christmas baskets or boxes typically include the following FMCG products: pasta, pasta sauce, canned meats, biscuits and other snacks, instant coffee, cheese, canned fruits, sweets and even personal care items like soap.

Kantar Philippines based its findings and analyses on the spending habits of over 5,000 Filipino households. — Miguel Hanz L. Antivola