UAE residents cut costs, look for cheaper alternatives as food prices rise

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UAE residents are revising their family budgets and cutting corners in the aftermath of global inflation. From shopping online and reducing takeaways and eating out to swapping cost-efficient ingredients and looking out for deals and discounts, UAE residents are making all possible efforts to save their money amid rising food prices.

According to food blogger Shabina Afzal, rising prices have directly impacted her source of income through online recipes.

"We are a joint family of 8. What I make for the family is what I shoot as recipes. We used to buy hormone-free, no antibiotics added chicken. However, this Ramadan, my mother has decided to switch to frozen chicken with the rocketing food prices. We use a lot of chicken for our snacks, and it is no longer feasible to buy the special ones," she said.

Rising prices have made several everyday foods expensive, further impacting her source of income. As a result, she is forced to switch to a lot of cheaper alternatives to keep her food blog running.

"Even the price of long-life milk has increased. We have now reduced the number of times we have tea in our household. As Keralites, we use a lot of coconuts (in recipes). We used to buy the grated coconut packs from the supermarkets. Now, we opt to buy the whole coconut, which we sometimes get on offer, and then grate it at home," she added.

Sharjah-based Hasiib Cureyshi has been cutting costs on food through several methods. From avoiding eating out at fast-food restaurants and high-end eateries to making coffee at home, he is trying to save every single penny he could amid soaring prices.

"I used to take long drives to the northern Emirates regularly, but I have stopped unnecessary trips now. The best way to avoid impulse buying is to stay home," he said.

Bushra Qamar, a mother to a 3-year-old, has moved to bigger hypermarkets for her grocery shopping needs, noting that smaller neighbourhood groceries have a higher markup price at least by Dh2 or 3.

"So I always buy in bulk at the bigger hypermarkets. I also buy store-branded items like ketchup, pulses and tissues. These are usually cheaper, and the quality is at par with the branded ones.

She has also become highly careful in online shopping, ensuring not to fall for sales and marketing gimmicks.

For Dubai resident Rahul TM, has been shopping online for cheaper and healthier alternatives.

"A bout with gout had made me very aware of the dangers of sodium-rich processed foods, and I spent hours researching and reading labels before picking up groceries. I know which brands I want and all I have to do is go online, find the website/app with sales going on, sort everything by price and press buy," he added.

He has also been using cards with cashback and other discount options for his purchases to keep the prices cheaper.

"I also begun to use the metro more. It helps save on fuel and keeps me healthy," he added.

A homemaker and a mother of 12- and 8-year-old boys, Maheen Husainy, found out the benefits of online shopping as a budget-friendly option during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Not stocking too much helped as well (to save). I would finish everything before replenishing. This meant less wastage. For oil and cleaning products, I hunt for deals. I also buy fewer junk snacks for the kids," she added.

The ongoing Russia-Ukraine military conflict has resulted in higher freight rates and surging oil prices. As a result, food costs across the world have risen multiple times. Recently, the UAE's Ministry of Economy approved a new policy to ensure that the prices of basic consumer goods remain in check for the welfare of all community members. 

SOURCE: Khaleej Times



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