Jeddah, Jan 23: Food stuffs close to their expiration date are being sold at hugely discounted prices in the Sawareekh market in Khumra area of south Jeddah. Close to expiration, they are snapped up by limited-income families and low-paid expatriate workers.
A network of dealers and retailers service the fast moving lines for low profits, relying on fast turnover for their returns.
Shops in the Sawareekh market hang signs promoting discounted “food stuff,” which they buy from supermarkets and wholesale dealers at exceptionally low prices and sell them from their shops to the public.
Food stuffs are sold in these shops for up to 80 percent less than their original price. Their expiration dates of one to four months indicate that they are still perfectly consumable but they have a severely limited shelf life.
“The nearer the expiration date is, the price gets cheaper,” said Amin, a Bangladeshi worker manning one of the discount shops in the Sawareekh market.
He said demand for those products was huge especially from poor families and expatriates who live in the southern parts of the city. “On weekends when the market is full we almost sell everything in the shop,” he said.
The biggest demand was for biscuits, sweets, beverages and some canned products, he said. When products expire over the shelves, he said, they are immediately disposed of. Some of the shops have extended their business by sending mobile salesmen carrying their goods on wheeled stalls to nearby districts such as Mahjar and Ghulail. They tour districts during weekdays when the market is slow so that they can sell as much of the stock as they can before it expires.
Saleh Ali, a Yemeni street salesman, said he pushes his mobile stall during his daily tours to the districts in south Jeddah. Ali is an independent salesman who buys goods from the Sawareekh market and sells them around the southern districts.
Ali said that he sold only biscuits and candies because they were in great demand. He said that he usually sold all his stock in one round and then went to the market to restock for the next day.
He said that the profit was not high but was enough to provide him and his family with the essentials of life. He fills his stall with stuff worth SR300 and sells them for SR400 on each tour.
Saeed Alrudaini, a resident of Gulail district, said that he always waited for the discounted goods dealer. “The products are not expired yet so there is nothing to worry about. Sometimes they are 70 percent cheaper than the normal store price,” he said.
Alrudaini said that he usually bought sweets and biscuits that were rapidly consumed by his children and guests. “I pay around 50 halalas for a Twix bar that is sold for SR2 in stores,” he remarked.