By Lynne Nolan
Government warnings issued to rip-off retailers and tradition-inspired product developments should be applauded by the industry.
Warnings issued to rip-off retailers and tradition-inspired product developments should be applauded by the industry.
The UAE Ministry of Economy is pulling no punches this Ramadan, after the launch of its inspection campaign to monitor prices and fight the danger of price hikes.
Cooperative bosses have lent their support to the battle and agreed to prepare cost price food baskets for consumers.
Teams from the Ministry will investigate retail outlets throughout the month for the campaign, in its bid to ensure that prices remain at agreed levels and to crack down on any possible manipulation by traders.
“The Ministry is always on the lookout to enhance the stability of the market and control price rises. During Ramadan some traders tend to take advantage of the situation and increase prices. Through its offices all over the UAE, the Ministry of Economy will take strict steps against any such attempt to exploit consumers,” said H.E Engineer Mohammed Ahmed Bin Abdel Aziz Alshihhi, Undersecretary – Planning Sector at the Ministry of Economy.
The Ministry has also met with various poultry production companies that have pledged their commitment to the initiative, on the heels of issuing a circular in Arabic, English and Urdu to all retailers and suppliers warning them against any exploitation during the holy month of Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr.
Violators will be punished according to consumer protection law number (24), the ministry cautioned, and penalties could even lead to closing down of violating outlets.
The Ministry has coordinated with the General Authority of Islamic Affairs & Endowment to include a speech in Friday sermon on the importance of cutting down on food consumption during Ramadan.
A hotline has also been launched (600522225) for members of the public to notify the ministry of any cases relating to food price jumps.
Masafi, one of the leading juice brands in the Middle East, has announced its plans to re-launch its traditional beverage Qamaruldeen during Ramadan.
The firm introduced the ready-to-drink Qamaruldeen juice during Ramadan in 2006 and has witnessed an exceptional consumer acceptance over the past two years.
Significant consumer interest and acceptance catapulted its sales by an impressive 18% in 2007 compared to 2006.
The limited edition drink, made from apricots and free of preservatives, offers consumers wholesome nutrition during the Iftar, with an innovative and unique design to convey local values and the spirit of Ramadan.
The natural formulation is claimed to “produce enough sugar rush to get the digestive system working, thereby soothing jumpy nerves. It also plays a pivotal role in regulating metabolism and is packed with vitamins A, B and C as well as calcium, iron, potassium and phosphorous.”
Masafi chief executive Ashraf Abushady said “we are happy to gift our valued customers with the season’s traditional offering – Qamaruldeen. The re-launch of Qamaruldeen during the Holy Month follows the unprecedented success of the beverage over the last two years. The launch of Qamaruldeen demonstrates Masafi’s commitment to address the needs and special preferences of our consumers.”
As the industry and retailers come together to stamp out rising bills for customers, whilst FMCG giants such as Masafi display stellar efforts to customise their product developments to benefit shoppers during the Holy Month, there is an incredible feeling of togetherness that industry players should be proud of. Ramadan Kareem!
Lynne Nolan is the editor of Retail News Middle East.