Going by the amount of investments, expansions and refurbishments that continues to go into Zimbabwe’s mainstream retail sector, analysts are agreed that despite the economic headwinds currently blasting the Zimbabwean economy the retail sector remains robust.
This may also explain why the sector has become somewhat of a low hanging fruit for conman masquerading as manufacturers. This is at least in the eyes of the vocal Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR).
In a recent Facebook post, the CZR said a survey they carried out had shown that virtually all the products found on Zimbabwean retail shelves claiming to be pure honey are no where next to what is known in reality as pure honey.
The organisation said “only few out of the bottles tested had original honey taste while the rest is simply sugary and doesn’t deserve to be in supermarket shelves”.
We are not entirely surprised by these findings.
Quality issues continue to dog locally manufactured products. While some local manufacturers are responding to calls for better quality products, unfortunately the majority remain unmoved by these consumer calls.
According to the CZR, 70% of goods on Zimbabwe’s retail shelves are locally produced. We think this number may actually have increased significantly in view of Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 which limited the amount of products entering retail shelves from outside Zimbabwe’s borders.
Zimbabwe’s biggest and most recognised supermarket chains are OK Zimbabwe, TM Pick n Pay, Choppies Zimbabwe, Spar Zimbabwe and Food World.
The problem of fake products in supermarkets is actually bigger than the pure honey issue.
Generally speaking, there is little oversight when it comes to product listing in Zimbabwe’s supermarkets. Supermarkets themselves when taking on suppliers ask very few necessary questions.
In addition, due to generally weak institutions that are supposed to provide the oversight necessary to weed out under-delivering manufacturers, poor quality products find themselves on the shelves even of the most leading supermarket chains.
In Zimbabwe, institutions such as the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ), the Ministry of Health and the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ), among others, are expected to keep a watchful eye to protect consumer welfare.
Unfortunately, many of these are struggling to keep themselves afloat. In a nut shell, for the most part, consumers are on their own.
Concerning the pure honey scandal, CZR said in the statement it will be approaching the manufacturers of the fake products as well as confront the retailers stocking them.
The organisation is also calling for members of the public to come forward and report such “malpractice”.
Image Credit TM PnP