The demand for beverages has come down sharply in the country due to Coronavirus pandemic despite the scorching hot.
According to business insiders, the demand for beverages dropped immensely as most shops, hotels, restaurants, movie houses, convention and party centres -- the hotspots for selling those items -- were closed with the outbreak of the pandemic.
Producers and traders said the demand marked a fall by 20-30 percent during the pandemic after it hit the country on March 8 last.
Talking to UNB, Director (Marketing) of PRAN-RFL Group Kamruzzaman Kamal said at the initial stage of the virus outbreak, many people thought that the beverage products needed to be avoided to save themselves from the virus as its patients suffer mostly from cold fever. But after several months this thinking has changed. “Now they’ve slowly started taking it.”
“There had been an adverse impact on the beverage market due to the pandemic -- almost 25 percent. We hope the market will bounce back soon,” he told UNB.
Kamal mentioned that they have over 3,000 products. Of them, he said, 100 beverage items are popular among customers and their company exports its products to 143 countries of the world.
The global market also took the heat, particularly during the period when the lockdown was enforced to prevent the transmission of the virus, Kamal added.
Contacted, SM Jahangir Hossain, Managing Director of Bangla Food and Beverage Ltd, said they have 30 products, including bakery and beverages. “The virus has affected much of the businesses in the country. We’ve to count huge losses as our sales nosedived in the last four-five months. Now it has begun improve.”
Jahangir Hossain, also senior vice-president of Bangladesh Agro-Processors' Association (BAPA), said they export their products to six countries but their export earnings fell drastically due to the pandemic.
“Our sales came down to 20 percent when the pandemic broke out. However, some 300 beverage-manufacturing companies are members of our association (BAPA). All of them have been affected by the pandemic,” he added.
Jahangir hoped that the sales would go up after the reopening of all shops, hotels, restaurants, educational institutions, convention and party centres.
Zillur Rahman, a beverage vendor in Old Dhaka, said the sales of different beverages, including bottled water, declined sharply over the last several months.
“Summer is a good time for selling beverage items but this summer has been an exception. Instead, bottled water has a good demand for customers this time. But the sales reduced more than 30 percent this year compared to previous years,” he added.
Zillur said the demand for carbonated drinks, malted drinks, juice and dairy beverages mark a rise during hot weather. Besides, the demand for bottled water has seen a substantial rise in the city following polluted water supply by Dhaka Wasa, and lack of safe drinking water.
“There’re around 25 to 30 brands of bottled water, including Mum of Partex Group, Kinley of Coca-Cola, Pran of Pran-RFL, Aquafina of PepsiCo and Fresh brand of Meghna Group in the country. The sales of all these products declined during the period,” he added.
SM Nazer Hossain, vice-president of Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB), said the demand for beverage fell by around 50 percent during this pandemic compared to its previous time.
“Those suffering from cold and fever are avoiding beverage items fearing Covid-19. Though the World Health Organisation (WHO) didn’t issue any warning on cold drinks in this regard. Besides, most hot selling points of the products were closed when the coronavirus hit the country affecting the beverage sales. Anyway, the market will bounce back soon, though winter is ahead,” he added.