The Lebanese markets have been flooded with commodities of unknown source in light of the wave of high prices that has been sweeping Lebanon along with the collapse of the Lebanese pound.
Goods with no production or expiration dates or carrying forged brands has been found on a large scale in Lebanese markets.
The Lebanese find themselves forced to buy these goods, which are relatively cheap as they are usually smuggled.
In turn, Tawfiq Badr, a supermarket owner in the capital, Beirut, says, “shelves look very different now. There are brands and names that I have never heard of before although I have been in this business for more than twenty years”.
Badr points out that most of the commodities that had great demand but he cannot sell in his store anymore are the products of the Nestlé (Lebanon branch), especially Nescafe and Coffee Mate, Maggi, Nido milk.
These products are still in the market, but from other branches of the company, especially the Turkish, he said.
“New brands have appeared in the market producing these products , such as MAHMOOD Coffee, altunsa, and others of hundreds of companies entering the market for the first time in this way and competing with cheaper prices and more quantities,” Badr added.
Lebanon is experiencing the worst economic crisis since the end of the civil war in 1990, which led to an unprecedented financial collapse and a mad rise in the prices of food commodities and fuel.
For his part, a distributor working in the Lebanese points out that “new goods have entered the market about six months ago. The Turkish goods were already in place but have increased significantly as well as demand on them”.
“The same applies to the Syrian goods, which are filling the shelves more than ever, especially in areas affiliated with Hezbollah, in Beirut, the Bekaa and the south. In addition, the Iranian goods have recently arrived in huge quantities to Lebanon.
He pointed out that “the items that the Lebanese used to buy are still present, but in smaller quantities and in specific areas, and in consumer cooperatives that attract customers with better financial capabilities”.
The distributor says that the Syrian and Iranian goods have increased a lot, especially in conjunction with talking about Hezbollah’s ration cards, which inevitably enhance the presence of these goods and attract them to the shelves of cooperatives.
Head of the Food Importers Syndicate, Hani Bohsali, says that there are no statistics about the new goods that have entered Lebanon.
However, it must be clarified that the situation has changed due to the high exchange rate of the dollar and the high price of some items, which often prompted companies to distribute the same items with smaller sizes to suit the Lebanese market.
“We now see bags of coffee of 100 grams instead of 200 grams for cheaper price. The consumer prefers to buy the smaller size and rationalize using it so that it suffices for a longer period. The same is true for bags of potatoes as well and other goods,” Bohsali says.