Saudi dairy prices in Bahrain rise again


In September, Saudi companies raised the prices of milk, laban and yogurt following a Saudi Cabinet decision to remove 50% subsidies for dairy companies.

At the time, GDN reported that Bahraini companies were increasing production to meet local demand. Ebrahim Zainal, president of Awal Dairy, a subsidiary of Trafco Group, then assured consumers that the prices of all its dairy products would remain the same.

However, he told GDN yesterday that the company has yet to make a decision following the latest development.

“In the international market, the cost of all ingredients such as milk, butter, sugar, concentrates, packaging materials, etc. has increased,” he said.

“It has been going on for 12 to 15 years.

“Of course, local producers have no choice but to pass this on to consumers; we depend on imported ingredients.

“So far, we haven’t made any decisions.”

According to Almarai’s alert to traders, a 200 ml container of fruit juice will cost 150 fils, compared to 130 fils, and a 1.5 liter container will cost 900 fils, compared to 800 fils.

The biggest price increase among Almarai’s dairy products was applied to cheese – a 100g serving will now cost 400 fils instead of 318 fils – closely followed by milk with a 37pc price increase.

Whole milk (150ml) now costs 250 threads, up from 180 threads. Condensed milk, cheddar cheese, whipping and cooking creams, and butter all saw their prices increase by 32pc, 23pc, 24pc and 18pc, respectively.

“We have received the new price list and we have to follow it, we don’t know the real reason,” said an expatriate businessman who owns a supermarket in Bahrain.

Representatives of Almarai could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, people have expressed concerns about the additional burden associated with value added tax (VAT) dropping from 5% to 10% as of January 1.

“The smallest of the price increases, especially on items like milk and butter, which are essential, will have a big impact on an average family,” a Bahraini woman said.

“The pandemic has left many unemployed and with wage cuts only prices go up, not wages and it is getting difficult.”

Earlier this month, Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Zayed Alzayani told MPs that the global sea freight crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic were responsible for the rise in prices of food in Bahrain.

“I asked around and one of the officials told me that the Saudi companies’ decision was taken in August itself,” the chairman of the House’s food and resources committee told GDN. from Bahrain, Khalid Al Amin.

“I can’t think of any good reason for this price increase, especially at a time when consumers are not ready.

“I hope they will revise the prices.”

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About Thomas B. Countryman

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