Consumers said that after the start of the application of the selective tax on sweetened drinks, companies have launched new types of juices and unsweetened drinks "without added sugar", at high prices ranging between 33% and 188%, compared to their counterparts in the market.
They demanded the launch of various varieties of juices and drinks without sugar, at reasonable prices, and to devise mechanisms that help reduce costs, explaining that the types available on the market without sugar are few and do not have a great variety.
Officials at two juices companies said that each company determines the prices of its products based on the ingredients and their source, the cost of production and the targeted consumers.
For its part, the Ministry of Economy said that it does not interfere in determining the prices of new commodities and products offered for the first time in the market, as companies determine the prices of products that are offered for the first time, and submit them to the ministry that undertakes monitoring compliance.
In detail, the consumer, Ibrahim Al-Amri, said that after the start of applying the selective tax on sweetened drinks directly, new types of juices and unsweetened drinks "without added sugar" were introduced, at high prices compared to their counterparts in the state markets.
He explained that a number of companies offered for the first time juices without added sugar, at a price exceeding 16 dirhams per liter, while the prices of juices without added sugar ranged in the market, usually, between 6.25 and nine dirhams per liter, and up to 12 dirhams at most for a few types , I.e. 33.3 to 156% higher than the others.
Al-Amiri called for offering varied varieties of juices and drinks without added sugar at reasonable prices, innovating mechanisms and production methods that help reduce costs, and producing varieties that suit consumer tastes, indicating that unsweetened varieties are still slim and not diverse.
The consumer, Salama Sultan, said that she was surprised by the introduction of new types of sugar-free juices at high prices, ranging between 16 and 18 dirhams per liter, while prices of unsweetened juices in the market starts at 6.25 dirhams per liter, and reach 10 or 12 dirhams on The most, for a few species, i.e. the rates of increase ranged between 33.3 and 188%.
She pointed out that she was expecting the introduction of new types at affordable prices to meet the shortage in the market and the increasing demand, after applying the tax on sweetened drinks, demanding that different options be offered to consumers without sugar at reasonable prices to compete with sweetened juices and encourage consumers to demand these items.
The consumer, Samir Hammad, said with subtraction that the unsweetened items are still slim and insufficiently diverse in the market, compared to juices and sweetened drinks.
He added that he was surprised by new but expensive types of up to 18 dirhams per liter, after applying the tax directly on sweetened drinks, although they are not subject to tax, which requires that their prices be more competitive.
For his part, the official at a local juices company, A.M., who preferred not to be named, said, “The cost and production mechanisms differ from one company to another, and each company determines the prices of its products based on several factors, most notably the ingredients, and their source if they are local or imported. And quantities and cost of production and target consumers », indicating that the levels of quality and components differ from one company to another, leading to a difference in prices.
The official in a juice production company, Ashraf Shawky, considered that "the diversity of products and prices in the market is required, and the consumer is the owner of the decision to buy any commodity or not," adding that several factors control the pricing policy pursued by each company, on top of which is the cost and production policy. And target audience.
In turn, the director of the Consumer Protection Department at the Ministry of Economy, Dr. Hashem Al-Nuaimi, said that “the ministry does not interfere in determining the prices of new products and commodities offered for the first time in the market, as companies determine the prices of products that are offered for the first time and submit them to the ministry that undertakes monitoring compliance with them, with It is prohibited to raise their prices after that unless after obtaining official approval from the Ministry.
Al-Naimi explained that each company is responsible for setting its prices, which are usually subject to several factors related to the company itself, the product, market conditions and competition, pointing out that the presence of different items comes in the interest of consumers who enjoy different options.
Retail expert Ibrahim Al-Bahr said that the large and unjustified rise in prices of new unsweetened juices is due to companies ’desire to increase their profits after applying the tax on sweetened drinks, as a result of expectations in the market to increase the trend towards consumption of unsweetened drinks because they are tax-exempt Moreover, the application of the tax was accompanied by awareness-raising campaigns about the health damages caused by excessive consumption of sugar, which prompted them to quickly launch new products.
Al-Bahr pointed out that many local companies produce unsweetened juices, of high quality at reasonable prices, expecting these companies to succeed in increasing their sales supported by their appropriate prices, and he expected that the market will witness more juices and unsweetened drinks during the coming period, after changing the policies of some companies towards orientation To this kind of juice.
Consumers are calling for offering varieties of juices and drinks without sugar and at reasonable prices.
The varieties of unsweetened juices are still slim and not diversified enough in the market.