food prices

Filipinos spend more for food, particularly rice, yet eat less – Pulse Asia

Lance Spencer Yu

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Filipinos spend more for food, particularly rice, yet eat less – Pulse Asia

RICE. The price of premium and special grade rice in Cebu City's Carbon Market range from P50 to P60 on Sunday, September 10.

Cebu City Public Information Office

Rice is a particular pain point as 90% of Filipinos saw its price go up in the last three months, while 21% decided to cut back on how much they eat of the Pinoy staple

MANILA, Philippines – Almost all Filipino households (95%) reported that they spent more on food in the past three months, even as a little over half of the adult population said they ate less food in the same period.

According to Pulse Asia Research’s September 2023 survey on household expenditures, 95% of Filipino households have been grappling with rising food prices in the past quarter, and rice tops the list of food that got more expensive. Among households, most of the respondents, or 83%, reported that they spent more on rice. (READ: Even with price caps, rice inflation skyrockets to 14-year high in September)

Looking at the same period in 2022, only 85% of the population reported spending more on food, meaning that the figure increased by 6 percentage points in 2023. Focusing on rice, the number of households that reported spending more on the staple rose by 16 percentage points in 2023 compared to 2022.

Possibly in response to rising food prices, majority or 53% of the adult population reported eating less in the past three months. According to the survey, 41% ate less non-rice food while 21% consumed less rice. 

Meanwhile, 62% of adults also noted spending more on electricity, while the population also felt the impact of rising costs in gasoline and diesel (22%), medicine and other health-related needs (17%), and water (16%), LPG (15%), transportation (13%), and cellphone load (4%), among others.

Virtually every Filipino (99%) also reported seeing price increases in items that they buy on a regular basis, with food (95%) and rice (90%) again being the top example. This reflects the inflation figures over the past few months, as rising food prices pushed up the inflation rate in August and September.

Compared to the same period in 2022, there was a 35 percentage point increase this 2023 in the percentage of adults who saw an increase in the price of rice. This reflects the finding of the Philippine Statistics Authority that rice inflation soared to a 14-year high of 17.9% in September 2023. 

Fieldwork for the survey was conducted from September 10 to 14 through face-to-face interviews with 1,200 adult representatives with a margin of error of 2.8%. –

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Lance Spencer Yu

Lance Spencer Yu is a multimedia reporter who covers the transportation, tourism, infrastructure, finance, agriculture, and corporate sectors, as well as macroeconomic issues.