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Let them Eat Cake!

Let them Eat Cake!

What could possibly bring Kipp to use that phrase (incorrectly attributed to Marie Antoinette)? Food prices, of course. At this rate there will be no cake for anyone…

March 3, 2011 5:30 by

So what is being done about it? Well, major retail chains like Lulu and Union Co-operative Society have agreed to lower prices of bread, rice, sugar, cooking oil and other basic items by between 20 and 40 percent for one month from this week. The National says that more than 1,000 varieties of food items will be lowered across the major retailers. The move comes in-line with an initiative from the government: “We want to protect consumers from any price rises,” said Hashim al Nuaimi, the director of the Ministry’s consumer protection department.

While the move to slash prices by 40 percent is only valid for this month, some retailers are taking more long-term steps to keep shopping affordable. LuLu Hypermarket, for instance, is aiming to cut prices by eliminating their business with distributors and dealing with the producers directly. The group said that it aims to bypass distributors and obtain between 50 and 70 percent of its items directly from producers by the end of this year to reduce cost by as much as 15 percent. V Nandakumar, a spokesman for Emke Group, told The National “We’re trying to step up our direct imports from other countries, to avoid the middleman and pass on the savings.”

Cutting out the middle man is a promising idea from one of the UAE’s major hypermarket chains; rising food prices and food shortages are very serious issues for the UAE. Because let’s face it folks, the majority of the food consumed here comes from imports. A rise in oil prices and consequently production and transport costs, on top of general price rises for the food itself on shortage worries, can severely compromise the standard of living in the UAE.

We’re hoping the food reserve strategy the UAE promises to put in place by next month is both practical and comprehensive.

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