12 Oct2010

Here are the rather shocking results of the produce price survey exercise that we did last week. Readers and MM submitted 34 completed surveys, including all 12 produce items in the original post. I did NOT reconfirm prices and I am assuming that the lists were done with ample attention to accuracy and that the readers who submitted them did so in good faith, and were NOT INTENTIONALLY trying to mislead the public. I do not discount the possibility of slight errors, but on the whole, the results seem quite defensible, particularly since me and my staff did about 10 surveys ourselves. Through sources, I know that at least three or four large grocery chains are following these price comparison posts with more than just a mild interest, as is a government agency. If I can be a bit pissy, I want to know WHY there isn’t a consumer protection agency that does these kinds of survey scientifically and regularly and posts their findings in publicly accessible areas like the internet, etc. Even cursory mention of market prices on morning television shows limit their sampling to just a few markets a day and they don’t, to my knowledge, do groceries either. At any rate, in case you thought it didn’t matter where you shopped, let us see what the data indicates:

1. WET MARKETS ARE MUCH CHEAPER, GROCERIES CAN MARK UP BY OVER 100%!

If you bought roughly the same basket of 12 produce items last week, you could have spent as little as PHP419.00 and as much as 1,009.00, and oddly, both in Cebu City. That means you could have spent 141% MORE at one place than the other. Or PHP 590.00 more! And that is just ONCE to the market/grocery, and only buying 12 produce items! Egads!

Markets are definitely cheaper than groceries. Duh. That doesn’t surprise in and of itself, but the magnitude in price differentials does surprise and upset any typical thrifty consumer. Market vendors have lower rent, no airconditioning and other utility bills, no advertising, probably less taxes, etc. and this would or should explain some of the differences. One can also assume, they are in a highly competitive environment, with several vendors selling the same produce so prices remain within a tight range and closer to that textbook definition of “equilibrium”.

Groceries, on the other hand, have what appear to me to be, outrageous price differentials. And it is interesting that large chains like SM, Metro, Rustan’s etc. have such variable prices, when you would imagine they would have huge buying clout. Even groceries within a few minutes walk from each other have prices that are substantially different. I realize there are lots of factors that build into the pricing, but from a consumer’s perspective, there is only one key question… Are you really willing to pay such a huge difference in prices simply because of ignorance, habit or perceived/actual convenience??? Just read the list below, and you will get a GOOD picture of who has obviously higher prices in this small sample of groceries/ supermarkets.

LIST OF MARKETS AND GROCERIES RANKED BY TOTAL PRICE OF MM’s 12-ITEM PRODUCE BASKET:

1. Carbon Market, Cebu – PHP419.00
2. Carmen Market, Cagayan de Oro – PHP499.00
3. Malanday Market, Valenzuela – PHP552.00
4. Pasig Mega Market, Pasig – PHP558.00
5. Sangandaan Market, Caloocan – PHP600.00
6. San Jose New Market, Puerto Princesa – PHP605.00
7. Divisoria Market, Manila – PHP605.00
8. Tabu-an Market, Piapi Dumaguete – PHP625.00
9. Suki Market, Mayon QC – PHP660.00

10. SM Megamall, Mandaluyong – PHP667.00
11. South Supermarket, Alabang – PHP682.00
12. SM Grocery, Ayala Center, Makati – PHP693.00
13. Hi-Top Supermarket, Quezon City – PHP723.00
14. SM Grocery, Dasmarinas, Cavite – PHP726.00
15. Landmark, Ayala Center, Makati – PHP728.00
16. SM Grocery, Sta. Rosa, Laguna – PHP730.00
17. Unimart, Ortigas Center, San Juan – PHP736.35
18. Shopwise, E Rodriguez, Libis QC – PHP740.00
19. SM Mall of Asia, Pasay – PHP763.00
20. Cash & Carry, Makati – PHP782.15
21. Rustan’s Technopark, Sta. Rosa, Laguna – PHP789.00
22. SM Grocery, SM City, Cebu – PHP789.00
23. Metro Grocery, Market!Market!, Taguig – PHP790.00
24. Makati Supermarket, Alabang Muntinlupa – PHP812.60
25. Metro Grocery, Ayala Center, Cebu – PHP837.00
26. S & R, Aseana , Baclaran – PHP845.40
27. S & R, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig – PHP851.40
28. Rustan’s, Rockwell, Makati – PHP868.55
29. Rustan’s Greenbelt I, Makati – PHP872.00
30. Rustan’s Ayala Center, Makati – PHP908.00
31. Rustan’s Ayala Center, Cebu – PHP912.00
32. Rustan’s Forbes Park, Makati – PHP948.55
33. Robinson’s Place Supermarket, Bacolod – PHP983.00
34. Robinson’s Banilad Town Center, Cebu – PHP1,009.00

2. PRICE VARIATIONS BY PRODUCE ITEM AT GROCERIES ARE SHOCKINGLY LARGE!

Price variations (ONLY AMONG GROCERIES, I LEFT OUT WET MARKETS IN THE DATA BELOW) on specific produce items can be as much as 392%, with kalamansi ranging from PHP16.25-80.00 per kilo, or a difference of PHP63.75 per kilo! On a nominal basis, ginger prices were PHP102 pesos more at one grocery than its lowest priced competitor!

1. Onions PHP56-115 (105%)
2. Tomatoes PHP30-79.95 (167%)
3. Garlic PHP134-193 (44%)
4. Potato PHP48-92 (92%)
5. Banana PHP30-56 (87%)
6. Carrots PHP60-150 (150%)
7. Kalamansi PHP16.25-80 (392%) (Though I suspect the lowest price might have been for a half kilo but I can’t be sure)
8. Baguio Beans PHP29.40-62.00 (111%)
9. Cabbage PHP30-72.50 (142%)
10. Kalabasa (Squash) PHP10-30 (200%)
11. Pechay PHP28.30-60 (112%)
12. Luya (Ginger) PHP75-177 (136%)

3. ARE YOU THROWING AWAY MILLIONS IN CARELESS SHOPPING?

If reader “A” voluntarily continued to shop at one of the most expensive groceries in the survey above, and spent a hypothetical PHP500 more EVERY WEEK for the next 30 years on their fruits and vegetables, how much do you think you could have saved over 30 years at 6% compound interest?

PHP502,257!

Yes, you would have SAVED half a million pesos if you managed to save PHP500 a week on the groceries. And that doesn’t mean abstaining, it means shopping smarter. Ok, wiseass, you say, it’s not worth driving the extra mile to the cheaper source, or your time is more valuable than the savings, or your life is stressed enough as it is, so why shouldn’t you indulge at a premium grocery? Let me put it this way. If you were buying a new iphone tomorrow and there were two stores in Makati, Alabang, Manila, Davao etc. and one store was asking PHP68,000 but offered you a private viewing room with Starbucks coffee, while a five minute walk away another store with the exact same phone but without the plush surroundings was asking PHP42,000, would you still buy the more expensive one???

4. MARKETMAN’S TIPS FOR SAVING ON YOUR FOOD BILLS

a. Increase your knowledge of prices. INFORMATION is POWER. Pay attention when and where you shop. Form a group of friends and relatives and keep tabs on prices and post them on your facebook page, whatever. A little effort and research will go a long way. And it isn’t just the HIGH PRICED ITEMS WHERE IT MATTERS.

b. Shop at a wet market at least twice a month for the basics. I like the FTI market in Taguig, which is convenient to where we live. I also like the Carbon market in Cebu. Find a wet market reasonably close and accessible to you with good prices. Build a rapport with your favored sukis or vendors. Make sure to remember them at Christmas and they will be wickedly good to you all year round. In our household, almost 85% of produce is sourced from wet markets, with groceries only providing last minute items, high end fruits and herbs, or ingredients for unplanned dishes.

c. Think your household is too small to buy in bulk? Then form “buying groups” with your neighbors or relatives. That way, for say the top 12 basics in the survey above, one family can hit the market and buy for say 4 different households, and the bonus is that you only have to go to the market ONCE a month if you take turns!

d. Eat what’s in season. If you market often enough, you will notice when particular items are in season. Feast on pako (ferns) during the rainy season, santol fruit during summer, kalamansi during the rainy season, etc. And preserve some key ingredients by making preserves, pickles, sauces, etc.

e. Track your expenditures, so you know where your money is going. Yes, we have a fairly detailed budget for the home and track it monthly.

5. VOTE WITH YOUR WALLETS!

Most consumers do NOT believe they can make a difference. It’s bad enough we are perhaps one of the nations/nationalities that complain the least when something goes wrong, so forgiving and willing to accept bad service or pricing, but are you really so willing to waste that hard-earned income? So while you might not think that one family moving from one grocery or market to another can make a difference, think again. There are as many as 20,000 (or were, before my hiatus) Marketmanila readers who will read this post. Maybe 8,000-10,000 of them based in the Philippines, while the rest probably fairly close to relatives back home in the Philippines. If that core of say 10,000 consumers discusses the contents of this post with just 4 other families that choose to vote with their wallets, that would be say 50,000 people thinking smarter about their produce expenditures. Now say they spend PHP1,000 a week for fruits and vegetables (that’s modest for us, we spend far more)… that would be a whopping PHP50 million a week in produce buying power. Or PHP2.6billion a year! You don’t think retailers would start to feel and react to that? They would. Remember what I said up top, at least 3 or 4 large grocery chains are watching this series of price posts… :)

Happy informed shopping!

P.S. So when are we doing the price comparisons for meat and seafood? Hahaha. I have visions of some groceries posting my photo at their guard stations and refusing me entry the next time I need to buy toilet paper. :)

P.P.S. A HUGE THANK YOU to all readers that submitted partial and full price surveys, your efforts are greatly appreciated. A special thanks to Artisan who canvassed some 4-5 different groceries in Cebu City. Salamat!

P.P.P.S. Why don’t the food sections of the broadsheet newspapers publish surveys and analyses like these once a month or so? Wouldn’t that be more interesting to the readership and consuming public than some ridiculous and often vapid article on some self-promoting restaurant or food product laced with MSG, or poorly written, researched or “lifted” articles?

 

COMMENTS:

  1. frostings says:

    Very informative and empowering post! Another great way to get the best and freshest produce at the lowest prices is buying them as close to the source as possible. We visit our province on a regular basis and we make it a point to befriend farmers and take an interest where our food comes from. Last week we bought a lot of upo straight from a vegetable farm for Php10 each, and we chose them ourselves, straight from the vine. It may sound like a hassle visiting farms and befriending farmers, but it’s really an educational experience that’s also helpful to your budget.

    Oct 12, 2010 | 4:25 pm

     
  2. Chris says:

    Hi Sir MM,

    You cant depend on the government on something as simple as readily available price comparison online , no matter how helpful that would be to the Filipino consumer. DTI does post regular spreadsheets of basic commodities on their site. (link below)

    http://www.dti.gov.ph/dti/index.php?p=39

    Anyhow, kudos on your survey MM! Why not promote this post into a Facebook page or some free forum.Then some members can volunteer to monitor one mall or wet market – to post their list every week. Of course we have to limit the list to specific items. The hard part is collating all those data. If does happen, I volunteer to monitor our local wet market in QC.

    God bless!

    Chris

    Oct 12, 2010 | 4:32 pm

     
  3. Marketman says:

    Chris, thanks for that link, I hadn’t realized there was that pricewatch online. But I have to say, in previous years, DTI researches have asked ME to provide them with market price data instead of their going out and doing primary research… :)

    This exercise took at least 20 manhours to do from data collection, compilation, analyses and write-up, so you can see why I am not anxious to do this often. But yes, SOMEONE should do it.

    Oct 12, 2010 | 4:42 pm

     
  4. Mom-Friday says:

    THANK YOU!
    I salute you for the dedication of compiling this valuable info, and will definitely share this on all my social media networks! :)))
    I am guilty of grocery-shopping wherever is convenient, and my choices fall in the first half of your supermarket/market list.
    Hope this will be a regular feature on your blog where consumers can send in or share updates on current prices.

    Oct 12, 2010 | 5:08 pm

     
  5. Luanne Shackelford says:

    Thanks for doing this! I’ve been eagerly awaiting the results! Makes me feel a bit smug to know my groceries are among the cheapest!

    Oct 12, 2010 | 5:15 pm

     
  6. jack says:

    my bad, i wasn’t able to participate on the pricelist survey… sorry!

    MM, this post hopefully will be an eye-opener for all of us. Just like Mom-Friday, I am also guilty to do my shopping at a more convenient place when there is actually a wet market which is also near our place but for a reason of course. We’ll do our produce shopping at the wet market going forward :) Thank you MM!

    Oct 12, 2010 | 5:40 pm

     
  7. odie says:

    Thank you for this precious info sir MM.

    I thought that Makati Supermart is cheaper than South Supermarket in Alabang!!!

    Oct 12, 2010 | 6:13 pm

     
  8. imom says:

    Thanks for doing this,MarketMan! I’m going back to the market. For the longest time, I’ve been buying all our food items from the supermarket because it’s more convenient. But these numbers, the savings! Gosh…. Back to the market I will go.
    Ooh, I wanna join the next survey. :)

    Oct 12, 2010 | 6:20 pm

     
  9. myra_p says:

    I’m happy to see SM Makati at #12! Now my efforts feel justified.

    But again, be aware that produce in the same bin might be from different brands and be priced differently, ie, Bonus vs. Dizon vs. Dole, etc.

    I still believe though that if some of us are willing to pay Rustan’s prices, we might as well buy organic at the weekend markets, especially “Baguio vegetables” and lettuce.

    Oct 12, 2010 | 7:14 pm

     
  10. Nadia says:

    After seeing the results of your list, I’m not surprised to find Robinson’s as the most expensive. Robinson’s Place Dumaguete opened here late last year and their prices for fresh produce are exorbitant! I didn’t have time to survey the 12 items at their supermarket but I’ll try to do it sometime soon and feedback it here. Again, I won’t be surprised it it comes out as #35!

    Oct 12, 2010 | 7:59 pm

     
  11. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    We should do this again next month and see if any of the groceries adjust their prices after this post. ;-)

    Oct 12, 2010 | 8:17 pm

     
  12. Pilar says:

    I agree with Artisan. :)

    MM, this is a whole lot of effort. I really really appreciate your blog. Keep going….

    Oct 12, 2010 | 8:50 pm

     
  13. Tricia says:

    Thanks so much for this post. I just noticed, how come Farmers Market in Cubao is not included in the list?

    Oct 12, 2010 | 9:48 pm

     
  14. Joy says:

    That was a great experiment. I looked here but I still had to go to multiple stores to make sure I got everything I needed.

    Oct 12, 2010 | 9:48 pm

     
  15. Melissa says:

    Thank you so much for this MM!!! As a FORMER Rustan’s Greenbelt shopper, I feel totally ripped off. Good thing I have options such as SM Makati and Landmark not so far away. You’re totally right about voting with our wallets!

    Agree with the other comments above, let’s do this on a more regular basis. The results are startling.

    Oct 12, 2010 | 11:43 pm

     
  16. marilen says:

    Thank you, MM. I will relay your info to relatives in Manila – very timely and money saving study.

    Oct 13, 2010 | 12:06 am

     
  17. joey says:

    Fantastic post and a great service to your readers! I have to admit I am so horribly guilty of shopping for convenience and most likely paying through the nose for it…all whilst complaining about my budget :( I am definitely taking all this to heart!

    Oct 13, 2010 | 1:11 am

     
  18. scramoodles says:

    I am commuting between two addresses, one home in Antipolo and one in Mandaluyong. The wet market in Antipolo is now directly facing against a giant that is SM Hypermart, being currently built. In Mandaluyong, wet markets are small and scattered with little area for parking. It’s just so disheartening to find that while I do favor and support these retailess, vendors, and farmers, the government it seems, gives such disservice to both consumers and retailers.

    Firstly, if the state wants to boost the demand for local produce and invite farmers back to their lands, then they should legislate measures that would improve the trade and commerce of such, starting with accessible and well-established wet markets. In a city that is bursting in its seams with population, it would do well to make room for more wet markets. Pasig, for instance, has the long established wet market behind the munisipyo. While it has been greatly renovated, how come nobody thought of setting up more and bigger wet markets in other areas as more and more people move in?

    Wet markets are trade routes, and now, they’re losing out to the big guys who import produce from China and who knows where. While that is not entirely bad, doesn’t it pain you to see Taiwan garlic bullying our own local ones? Maybe it would be a great idea if city planning could be put to good use. Maybe then, one day, our local produce could thrive if, let’s say, there is ever a legislation that bans major establishments from directly competing against wet markets within 5km radius or so. Just an idea.

    Oct 13, 2010 | 1:54 am

     
  19. bambina says:

    Thank You MM. This article is very informative. Since I live near Robinson’s Place Bacolod and Robinson’s Triangle Bacolod, I do my grocery shopping there. And whenever I am in Cebu I do my grocery shopping at BTC since I live near that area. Ka mahal gali sa ila!!! Back to Burgos Market shopping!

    Oct 13, 2010 | 8:10 am

     
  20. Ley says:

    Thank you, thank you MM!

    Oct 13, 2010 | 8:54 am

     
  21. Libay says:

    Thanks MM for this very commendable research!

    Oct 13, 2010 | 8:59 am

     
  22. becky says:

    WOW! i love it when numbers talk. there’s no refuting them.

    this is going to be so useful especially with Christmas round the corner and people buying more than they used to. i agree, smarter choices could mean big savings. and those savings could mean being able to buy more or have better quality of other things.

    Thanks MM! and those readers who participated!

    Oct 13, 2010 | 9:28 am

     
  23. gigie says:

    It’s comforting to know that Pasig Mega Market is among the cheapest place to buy produce. I hope your readers from the area will continue to patronize it even if Rustan’s, SM Hypermart Pasig and Puregold are just around the corner.

    Thank you for this effort!

    Oct 13, 2010 | 10:05 am

     
  24. Chesa says:

    Thank you so much, MM! And I thought Landmark is cheap. Duh.

    Oct 13, 2010 | 10:13 am

     
  25. kikas_head says:

    Wow. The results are surprising! I would have naively thought that the same brand of grocery would have the same prices (i.e., Rockwell Rustans would have the same prices as Rustans Shang). This does get really more important at Christmas for us as we do about 40 grocery baskets. Saving P5 on a jar of sardines does not sound like a big deal, but when one is buying in bulk it quickly adds up.

    Thank you, thank you to you and everyone who made this survey. Very enlightening. Obvious moral of story, wet market for produce and meats, save the grocery for the dry goods.

    Oct 13, 2010 | 10:17 am

     
  26. Melanie says:

    Thank you, MM, for your altruistic heart! More power to you, your crew, and your posts. May you never tire of sharing your ‘finds’ with us all!!

    Oct 13, 2010 | 10:39 am

     
  27. bagito says:

    Amazing. I can’t believe the discrepancy in pricing, even among the same purveyors. I guess part of it comes with the territory, Makati/Cebu real estate costs more, therefore, they gotta make it up w/ higher prices. Pero naman, grabe sa pagte-take advantage. Even though I don’t live there, I’m getting indignant at the thought that these stores have been getting away with such price gouging. Thanks for this, MM, and empowering not just your readers but anyone who will be awakened by this post.

    Oct 13, 2010 | 12:06 pm

     
  28. Marketfan says:

    Tricia, maybe because we should have been the ones to do Farmer’s Market? Sorry I wasn’t able to join this survey. Maybe during the next round. I do go to Farmer’s for fruits and vegetables.

    Oct 13, 2010 | 1:10 pm

     
  29. Jenny says:

    thank you for this post MM! such an eye opener!!!

    Oct 13, 2010 | 1:23 pm

     
  30. maia says:

    i appreciate this so much, MM. and carbon market is at no.1! with these results, i will be saving a lot on my market bills if i go to carbon. will show this to hubby and he may relent this time. thanks a lot!

    Oct 13, 2010 | 3:05 pm

     
  31. lola vi says:

    Thanks….you’re a great help.

    Oct 13, 2010 | 5:09 pm

     
  32. becky says:

    p.s. MM i took another of your budget saving tips to heart – cooking and eating at home vs. eating out and we enjoyed the ‘expensive’ dishes in restaurants at a fraction of the price when we do it at home :)

    Oct 13, 2010 | 6:03 pm

     
  33. good day says:

    Hi MM, I’m a long-time lurker here and it’s my first time to post : ) I would have wanted to join this survey but wasn’t able to comment on the previous post. I love going to the market but I used to buy our vegetables at SM since it was cheaper than Farmer’s market. But my friend told me that fruits and veggies were cheaper in Nepa Q Mart, so I checked out their prices and I’ve been going there ever since. I thought Divisoria would have better prices but looking at your Divi list, Q Mart still turns out cheaper. Usually the stalls near entrance are more expensive compared to the stalls at the back area… this is where the trucks/jeeps unload the produce.

    Oct 13, 2010 | 6:04 pm

     
  34. Neesha says:

    What an amazing and informative post! I really loved it because my hubby and I are planning to move to Metro Manila next year and we are both foodies! We love to cook for each other so this is really helpful. I also re-tweeted it! Thanks MM and all your generous friends who helped out!

    Oct 13, 2010 | 7:12 pm

     
  35. Joyce says:

    this is such a great help! thank you. i feel better looking at the list because we used to shop mostly in sm megamall. i’m surprised to find out that unimart is not as cheap as i thought it was. will try to buy produce in wet markets as much as possible now. the half million savings is staggering!

    Oct 13, 2010 | 7:25 pm

     
  36. uniok says:

    Marketman, somestimes its better to buy a kilo of eggplant, tomatoes, unions, garlic, ginger,beans at the Mall like Rustan or shopwise Araneta ( d kana hihingi ng tawad).
    Just the same price at the wet market, the good thing is ur safe from tomatoes cleaned from kerosene just to look shiny or vegetable soak in formalin.
    The best time to buy vegetable and meat at the wet market ( NepaQmart) is 4am on weekends …
    Lahat fresh mabibili…kahit may amoy yung palengke..masasanay ka rin… :D

    Oct 13, 2010 | 8:37 pm

     
  37. joni says:

    this is a must read post! :D good job MM and everyone who participated. :)

    Oct 13, 2010 | 8:40 pm

     
  38. Norma says:

    Thank you MM and to all who contributed to the survey. I get all of my produce from the wet market once a week. For ordinary groceries I go to Puregold, and once a month I shop at S & R for high end goods. I saved at wet market and splurged at S & R. Not too bad. I’ll try to check out Puregold in our next survey.

    Oct 13, 2010 | 8:42 pm

     
  39. Norma says:

    Prices of produce are variable depending on its quality (freshness, size, color, ripeness), supply, season, etc. At wet markets, prices shoot-up during a typhoon, or drop when the produce are two or more days old. Prices varies from one vendor to the next. You are right, MM, I have suki vendor/s, they even advise me which of their produce are “sariwa or luma”, or if they have some special items for the day. I don’t mind a little mark-up in price, I am confident I get my produce fresh.

    Oct 13, 2010 | 9:03 pm

     
  40. chreylle says:

    elo MM! as for me, i only buy my groceries need (canned goods/foods ,toiletries, soaps & the likes) in supermarket, but when it comes to meat, veggies,fruits and fresh flower, i headed to the market, its a lot lot cheaper and practical.

    Oct 13, 2010 | 9:27 pm

     
  41. Koshinryo says:

    Where can I buy whole spices, such as cloves or cardamom?

    Oct 13, 2010 | 9:31 pm

     
  42. Tricia says:

    Marketfan, same here! I or the cook go to Farmers Market in Cubao for fish, veggies & our ingredient beef “innards” or laman loob for the yummy papaitan we cook once in a while :)

    Oct 14, 2010 | 12:47 am

     
  43. myonebigtrip says:

    Hey Market,

    One surprising finding of this survey is that living in the province don’t necessarily mean you get your produce cheaper. Its surprising that some establishments in Manila have low price points.

    Oct 14, 2010 | 7:37 am

     
  44. Ellen says:

    Thank you, MM for your effort! This is really very helpful.

    I now know how a certain supermaRket can give a two (2) hour “free” parking coupon!

    Oct 14, 2010 | 12:24 pm

     
  45. reggie rullan says:

    Hi MarketMan.

    I read your posts when i need a dose of real food. Im a food writer for the paper mediums and Ill take up your idea with my editors. The food price survey you just pioneered is laudable and downright practical. Definitely relevant and moneywise.

    Would you mind being interviewed for that piece?

    Ill soon (I hope) be making the homecured bacon you posted and will try smoking it after. Will report results!

    Thanks again for not closing this blog :)

    Reggie

    Oct 14, 2010 | 4:17 pm

     
  46. leigh says:

    Hi MM, people say we have an increasing sense of volunteerism and if that is indeed true, maybe a group of volunteers could take this on and work could be divided so that you don’t put that much of a burden on people – commitment of a couple of hours per week – that might work? We might have a group of people who’d also volunteer to help with the stats? I’d volunteer for the latter … :-)

    Oct 14, 2010 | 5:07 pm

     
  47. S says:

    Wow, Carmen Market of CdO is at #2!! Cool! Thanks!

    Oct 14, 2010 | 5:13 pm

     
  48. Marketman says:

    leigh, yes, I think people, with the aid of technology are perhaps feeling more and more empowered to say something when things are off… so maybe a “price vigilante group” isn’t far-fetched. But it is still incredibly time consuming for a home-based version… reggie, yes, I would be willing to do an email or phone interview when I get back to Manila if that helps…

    Oct 14, 2010 | 8:07 pm

     
  49. kasseopeia says:

    Whoa… I always thought the price was different but I didn’t realize how huge the gap is!

    A visit to the wet markets not only offers savings, it also is (for market fiends like myself) something soothing and energizing. This is very useful, nutritious retail therapy. You know that high when you get a pair of lovely shoes at half-price? That’s how I feel when I score a beautiful head of broccoli, a bunch of fresh asparagus, or a tray of durian – at a very reasonable price.

    And yes… I got all those from FTI. I love it there!

    Oct 14, 2010 | 11:26 pm

     
  50. mayz says:

    hi, mm — there’s something i learned from you that you may have left out on your tip list:
    GROW YOUR OWN! things like lemongrass, bird’s eye chili, pandan and calamansi are easy to grow and don’t take up too much space. not to mention herbs like mint or basil (the price of these are insane sometimes).

    since i started reading your blog, i’ve begun growing the above — along with makrut, galangal (practically a weed in its indestructibility), and herbs. my helpers also have a small patch of okra, ampalaya, etc.

    nothing beats FREE! :)
    thank you for this brilliant piece!

    Oct 15, 2010 | 8:38 am

     
  51. Marketman says:

    mayz, yes,definitely grow your own whenever you can. We have a small kitchen garden and several pots at home with herbs/spices/other citrus plants, etc.

    Oct 15, 2010 | 8:48 am

     
  52. erleen says:

    Just an FYI for the others here who also buy their groceries at the Pasig Mega Market.

    They are going the green route and passed an ordinance wherein you should bring your own reusable bags starting every Tuesday and Thursday. The vendors would no longer be giving your produce in plastic bags. They started last week. After the set period, they would eventually do this everyday.

    Oct 15, 2010 | 12:32 pm

     
  53. Joy says:

    This is great information MM! My wish is that you have a “like” or “share” link for Facebook users. Then this data will really take off! :-)

    Oct 15, 2010 | 2:53 pm

     
  54. manilamom says:

    maybe the BF market is really expensive. i would buy veggies there between grocery trips and i noticed that they sell things by “tali” and more often than not it’s priced at 5 or 10 pesos per tali. this “tali” is a lot smaller than a bunch of vegetables in south supermarket. kangkong, for example, is only P11 for a think bunch as compared to the scrawny bunch that they sell in the BF market. i’ve scouted around the market and most veggie vendors do the same.

    Oct 15, 2010 | 7:04 pm

     
  55. Ley says:

    Hi MM. This is outside the topic but I just want to share that I learned an important procedure in the preparation of the Nasing’s and Kristian’s liempo in Balamban- they boil the liempo first before roasting. I asked a staff in Nasing’s who candidly told me they boil the liempo (with salt and other seasoning) for about 30minutes, then they drain and air dry. Yesterday, we went to Balamban and tried the famous Kristian’s liempo and observed that the liempo were also boiled before roasting. I had an aha moment there because I tried the liempo recipe twice and in both cases, the meat was undercooked.

    Oct 18, 2010 | 10:33 am

     
  56. Marketman says:

    Ley, thanks, that is an incredible piece of the puzzle. It isn’t a total surprise, that’s what you do for lechon kawali or crispy pata, but with such small pieces for the barbecued version, I suspect they do this to make sure it IS cooked inside rather than raw. I did the liempo several times, and it was cooked, but it was over a big charcoal flame and turned for a long time. It also somewhat explains other purveyors who may not pre-boil and speed the barbecuing and end up with an undercooked piece. I noticed on recent trips to Cebu that other liempo sellers are now using electric ovens instead of charcoal… possibly a solution to unercooked meat, but then it has no smokey flavor… THANKS so much for sharing this.

    Pre-boiling the meat before grilling would likely result in a drier end result than just barbecuing a fresh piece of meat…

    Thanks Ley. :)

    Oct 18, 2010 | 10:53 am

     
  57. crissie says:

    Hats off to you MM, this is so helpful… :o)

    Oct 19, 2010 | 11:51 am

     
  58. Kate says:

    Great compilation, MM and folks. I wish I could go to the market more often but we usually just do our shopping in the grocery for convenience.

    Oct 20, 2010 | 1:39 am

     
  59. Ychika says:

    It’s the first time I am going to comment here, I’ve been a lurker for some time already! But I just want to say thank you, MM! I learned a lot, and I shared this to my Mom and Dad :D You helped us realize how much money we could save if we go to the market instead! Thank you :)

    Oct 20, 2010 | 8:18 pm

     
  60. tipat says:

    Thank you for the very informative post MM and everyone who helped you out. I agree that the government and media should do this more actively. I hope you’ll have the patience to do this again, perhaps on a regular basis??? Or maybe some people in the group would like to come together and make this a regular thing — FB perhaps?

    Oct 21, 2010 | 10:12 am

     
  61. reggie rullan says:

    hi again marketman.

    i have spoken to my editor and she loves the idea of having your survey results published in a national daily in the lifestyle food section.i also told her we can make a new survey of the other groceries that were not covered.this article would really serve the public.

    went to the dti market price posts and they only post market prices.plus the links to the posts are dead :(

    may i email you?

    love the look of that citrus moroccan salad :) it my next salad experiment.im asking for my sister to look for argan oil in seattle.

    also thanks to you i am now aware of zubochon and will have some flown in by saturday. can’t wait!

    thanks,
    reggie

    Oct 21, 2010 | 4:29 pm

     
  62. Eileen says:

    Hi MM, I hope you can do a post/survey also regarding top grocery items (not just fruits and vegetables). I noticed that the price differential can be huge as well based on my experience on SM Makati and Landmark.

    Oct 23, 2010 | 11:06 pm

     
  63. reggie rullan says:

    hi.

    my zubuchon arrived and i have defrosted it in the ref and will oven heat it for breakfast! will eat it on its own first before it will end up in a paella.

    pls email when you are back in manila. i have assembled a team to do the survey.will set a specific day we will all do this and will ensure correct units per item to get comparative pricing.

    thanks! will await your email.

    Oct 24, 2010 | 11:54 pm

     
  64. Walter says:

    Thanks for this post, MM. Although I am a bit surprised not to find Balintawak and Commonwealth Markets and Cherry Fooderama on the list.

    Oct 25, 2010 | 2:56 pm

     
  65. Lennie says:

    Hi MM,
    I’m a convert! Just did my grocery and meat shopping yesterday at the Robinson’s Hypermart along the West Service Road (beside Zuellig), and spent a whopping 4,300 just for two weeks…and that didn’t include the basketful of pretty expensive boxed cereals my kids prefer for breakfast! The amount I spent was just for an average 1/3 to 1/2 kg per meal of beef, chicken, and pork, all good for about 22 meals for a family of 5, as well as recados like tomato sauce and veggies. I don’t much like the meats at SM Bicutan as they come across as bilasa (sorry, no offense meant), which is why I buy at Robinson’s instead. But now that I know about the much cheaper prices at FTI Taguig, I’m going to make the effort to do my shopping there! Thank you, MM! You’re truly a lifesaver for coming up with this, what a wake-up call! From your previous posts I understand that you’ve been able to buy fresh milk (do they have gatas ng kalabaw there?) and organic eggs as well as duck eggs at FTI Taguig too, for your leche flan which I’m certainly going to have a shot at making. Would appreciate if you would share with me (just PM me nalang) the names of your FTI “suki,” so I can look for them next time I do my shopping. BTW, I was also intrigued by your post on ZUBOCHON and luckily, my husband is out on one of his trips to Cebu…will have him bring some home to try it out. Thanks again!

    Oct 25, 2010 | 3:15 pm

     
  66. Utoy says:

    I have to stand straight with my chest out and a salute of gratitude to you, marketman. I knew that this may sound commercially inclined but you deserved to be compensated for the works you’ve done. For what it’s worth, I wish i was a rich man so i can put writing like this in a place or media that is most accessible to filipinos. Too bad, computer are utilized nowadays in philippines mostly by youngsters facebooking/twittering, etc. Not that it’s bad but topic like this deserve more attention and should be brought to the doorsteps/mailboxes of filipinos.

    I wish you a pleasant writing and more motivation to continue.

    Mabuhay ka, kabayan.

    Oct 28, 2010 | 4:20 am

     
  67. Blaise says:

    This has nothing to do with produce in this post, but I have just realized recently the disparity of prices in our books as well. Just over the long weekend I looked for the book “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” paperback edition at Powerbooks, and it’s priced at PhP335. This is in Alabang Town Center. Good thing I followed my gut and didn’t buy it yet because when I walked over to National Bookstore, also in the same mall, the same book is priced at only PhP299. PhP36 difference.

    I left ATC already, still haven’t gotten the book, and on the way home, I decided that I really wanted to so I stopped by National Bookstore in Southmall, and while the price is the same with their branch in ATC, the one in Southmall is on sale and so I just got the book for PhP 239.60! Yes, it felt like I struck a deal!! :)

    Nov 2, 2010 | 12:22 pm

     
  68. aravis says:

    I shop regularly at Hi-Top Supermarket in Quezon Avenue where groceries are often cheaper. I’ve noticed that produce prices are usually more expensive than at the nearby SM Hypermart so if I have time (and if I can still walk the two blocks plus MRT/overpass with all my groceries), I shop for groceries at Hi-Top and go to SM for fresh produce. Prices at the small Centris Hypermart seem to be dearer than at the SM Megamall grocery, however.

    I also noticed that prices at the small Robinson’s grocery in Berkeley Square, Commonwealth were higher than the bigger Robinson’s grocery in Pioneer.

    Since I only shop for myself and therefore at small quantities, I sometimes settle for the more expensive option as long as the price difference isn’t too much.

    Nov 2, 2010 | 9:23 pm

     
 

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