Inflation has everyone dealing with it differently. Seyda Bal, an Istanbul bank employee, has fallen back into a pandemic-era behaviour of hoarding packaged products like toilet paper and coffee because she is so concerned about the rising cost of food.
Bal, 27, claimed that she frequently purchases staples like molasses, tahini, pasta, rice, oil, and pasta with the anticipation that their prices will double the next month.
The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has increased the cost of packaged products by driving up energy & grain prices to record highs.
In regions of North Africa and Asia where people spend a larger percentage of their income on fuel and food than in Europe and the United States, this has been felt particularly severely, leading some consumers to store non-perishable goods.
Nestle (NESN.S), the largest packaged food manufacturer in the world and owner of more than 2,000 brands like Cheerios, Nescafe, and Maggi, has taken note of the trend.
According to Karim Al Bitar, head of consumer research & market intelligence at Nestle’s North Africa and the Middle East unit, the Swiss company is making changes to its product lines in the region to make them more relevant to consumers and is considering whether to make a few products “more affordable.”
This can entail using cheaper ingredients and increasing box sizes.
Items for hoarding include Nescafe coffee sachets and Maggi products.
A business statement sent through email revealed Nestle is collaborating with local partners to find solutions to supply problems and has thus far been successful in maintaining inventory levels.
Over 4%, or about 3.7 billion Swiss francs ($3.9 billion), of Nestle’s yearly sales, come from these territories. Central Asia makes up around 9% of the total or 8 billion francs.
Hani Weiss, CEO of the reputable Majid Al Futtaim Retail, which operates more than 450 Carrefour stores across 16 nations in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia—stated consumers are spending less on non-essentials like electronics, clothing, and household goods while increasing their demand for packaged food and personal care products.
People are worried about supply availability, according to Weiss, who also said that the shop was seeing average inflation of 9.5%, with specific pressure in nations like Egypt, Kenya, and Georgia.
There are persistent shortages of essentials in several nations in North Africa & Central Asia. People are having trouble finding flour, sugar, and baked products in Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, and Morocco, according to Kamile Botyriute, the Euromonitor International analyst.
Botyriute stated several Tunisian stores started restricting goods in August to discourage customers from stockpiling.
Eldar, a 28-year-old businessman from Almaty, Kazakhstan, claimed that they had purchased roughly ten 50-kilogram bags of wheat and an equal amount of sugar. There are suggestions that people want to stockpile sugar since shortages are anticipated.
Ivan, a 47-year-old furniture designer from the same city, predicted an increase in both prices and the value of the dollar. It urges individuals to stock up now at current costs to avoid paying more in the future.
Many Central Asian and Northern African nations are experiencing higher rates of inflation than those in North America or Europe, where the consumer price increase rate in the 19 nations that share the euro surged to 8.9% in July.
In August, Turkey’s annual inflation rate reached an all-time high of 80%, while Egypt’s increased to 13.6% in July. In many circumstances, local currency depreciation raises the price of imports.
Oil, toilet roll, noodles, sugar, and dishwashing detergent have all been stocked up by Sinem Ozel, a 31-year-old marketing professional who resides in Istanbul.
She used to spend between 300 to 400 Turkish liras ($16.71 to $22.27; now, she spends the same price in one week and occasionally purchases Nescafe’s three-in-one 20% additional pack of instant coffee).
These nations are struggling under the weight of inflation at historic highs, and hoarding might ease the drag for Asian territories, especially.