Cairo, Egypt (October 18, 2022) The global economic crisis and its repercussions on the Egyptian economy have hit millions of Egyptians’ daily mood fix – the caffeine dose from coffee and tea – with a 17-18 percent increase in prices and fears of a looming shortage.
Last week, retailers announced a rise in the price of Unilever’s Lipton tea – which has the second-highest market share in Egypt – nearly a week after a similar rise in the price of its archrival El-Arousa tea.
The price of El-Arousa’s 250g dust tea packet went from EGP 22 to EGP 26 while the price of Lipton 250g dust tea packet went from EGP 28 to EGP 33.
El-Arousa, Egypt’s most famous tea brand worldwide, has recently stirred controversy on social media platforms when its parent company Badawy Group issued a rare statement, warning of a possible tea shortage crisis.
In a plea in August to Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and several banks, including the National Bank of Egypt (NBE), Bank of Alexandria, and Qatar National Bank (QNB), Badawy Group urged them to make US dollars available to the company in order to enable it to continue importing tea.
The family-operated business also urged the authorities to help it obtain not just the US dollars it needs to import tea but also the necessary shipping and clearance documents for nearly 6,000 tons of already imported tea that have been sitting in Egyptian ports for more than a month.
On the other hand, Badawy Group claimed in a plea that 80 percent of the documents that pertain to the allegedly stranded 6,000 tons of tea shipments are sitting at the NBE, warning that the “country’s tea stock is only enough for one month.”
A delay could also result in the company having to pay delay fines in foreign currency to shipping companies, the group said, and this would push up the cost of tea and lead to price increases, it warned.
According to Kantar, the London-based data analytics and brand consulting company, El-Arousa tea was Egypt’s most chosen beverage brand in 2021, its main customers being the middle and low classes who prefer strong loose tea.
Officials in the Food Commodities Division in the Cairo Chamber of Commerce said in media statements that the “tea crisis” was overblown, adding that tea stocks in the country were enough to cover demand for six months.
Also, division members warned the public that any proclamation about tea shortages may lead customers to hoard tea and thus create a real crisis that leads to actual shortages, especially amid the current global economic crisis.