Rising prices for cooking oils in Bahrain in a way that transcends “consumer perception”

Abbas Al Mughni

Reducing the amount of oil in a package from 1.8 liters to 1.5 liters

Traders raised prices for cooking oils for the second time in a way that surpassed “consumer perception” in light of rising import costs to record levels in the Kingdom of Bahrain, which has a population of about 1.5 million people who consume a lot quantities of cooking oils.

The first increase was last year by directly raising the price at a variable rate of not less than 35%, depending on the quality of the oil and the brand.

As for the second increase, it started this year by reducing the amount of oil in a can by a small percentage and it is a kind of mental trick in marketing to bypass the perception of the consumer, as the consumer focuses on the price without paying. attention to quantity.

Cans of cooking oils appeared in stores and markets with a volume of 1.5 liters, as it was 1.8 liters, with a decrease in quantity of 16%.

There are 1.8 liter cooking oil cans, some of which are of old production, while the new production is mainly 1.5 liter cans.

When consumers were randomly asked about the purchase price of oil, their answers were similar. Ali Abdullah says: “I bought a box of oil for 900 fils, while today we buy it for 1.6 dinars.” As for those who buy in quantity, their answers were also similar, like Umm Hussein, who said: “We bought an oil carton for 6 dinars, while today we buy it for 9 dinars.” And all their answers focus on price, not paying attention to reducing the volume of packaging from 1.8 liters to 1.5 liters.

Statistics from the Department of Customs revealed an increase in the cost of importing a liter of oil to Bahrain at rates ranging between 6% and 79% for sunflower oil, and from 76% to 84% for horse oil and between 27 % and 191% for corn oil, and between 26% and 54% for soybean oil, with a percentage ranging between 58% and 83% for hydrogenated vegetable oils.

According to statistics conducted by Al-Watan to compare the cost between March 2020 and March 2021 and March 2022, the cost of a liter of corn oil imported from the UAE increased by 52% to 827 fils, and imported from Turkey was increases 59%. at 716 fils per liter, and imports from Malaysia increased by 191% to reach 893 fils per liter, and imports from Saudi Arabia increased by 27% reaching 1,199 dinars.

As for the cost of importing one liter of sunflower oil, it increased by 73% for oil imported from Turkey from 410 fils to 691 fils, and imported by the Sultanate of Oman increased from 417 fils to 691 fils, or 65% and imports. from Ukraine increased from 403 fils to 893 fils With an increase of 79%, and from the UAE increased by 21%, bringing the cost of importing a liter to about 842 fils.

Palm oil imported from Malaysia increased 84% from 345 fils per liter to 635 fils per liter, and those imported from the Sultanate of Oman increased 81% from 392 fils per liter to 710 fils per liter and from Indonesia increased by 335 fils per liter at 589. fils, at 76%.

While the costs of importing soybean oils from the United States increased by 54% from 514 fils per liter to 792 fils per liter, and imports from the United Arab Emirates increased from 598 fils to 751 fils, or 26%.

As for hydrogenated vegetable oils, the cost of importing them from the UAE increased by 58% from 401 fils per liter to 634 fils per liter, while the cost of imports from Saudi Arabia increased by 83% from 598 fils in 1.09 fils per liter.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) stated that vegetable oil prices continued to rise to 248.6 points during March 2022, an increase of 46.9 points, about 23.2% from their level in February 2022, thus setting a new growth. record.

“The sharp rise in the value of the index was driven by rising prices for sunflower, palm, soybean and rapeseed oils,” the statement said. International sunflower oil prices rose sharply last March, driven by shrinking export supplies amid the conflict in the Black Sea region.

Meanwhile, palm, soybean and rapeseed oil prices also rose sharply due to rising global demand for imports as a result of disruptions in the supply of sunflower oil.

Moreover, while global palm oil prices were further supported by the continuing decline in supplies to major producing countries, soybean oil prices were based on concerns about declining export supplies to South America. It was noted that the fluctuation and increase in crude oil prices has brought support for international vegetable oil prices.

Economists believe oil prices will rise sharply this year, especially as Indonesia, the world’s largest producer of palm oil, announced plans on April 22, 2022, to halt exports of the most widely used vegetable oil. in a shocking motion. could further fuel rising food price inflation globally.

Banning shipments of edible oil and its raw material, which is widely used in products between confectionery and cosmetics, could increase the costs of packaged food producers globally and force governments to choose between using vegetable oils. in food or biofuels. Indonesia produces more than half of the global palm oil supply.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said he wanted to ensure the availability of food products in the country as global food price inflation escalated to a record level after the Russo-Ukrainian war, a major plant producer.

The head of the Indian commercial body of the Association of Solvent Extractors, Atul Chaturvedi said the announcement would hurt consumers both in India, a major buyer country, and globally.

Other vegetable oil prices rose due to the Indonesian mass and the price of soybean oil, the second most widely used vegetable oil, rose 4.5% to a record 23.81 cents per pound on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Global prices for crude palm oil, which Indonesia uses in cooking, have risen to record levels this year, amid growing demand and weak production from major producers Indonesia and Malaysia, as well as an Indonesian move to limit exports. of palm oil in January which expired in March. .

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