Ramadan 2022: how to save on your supermarket bills

Customers should prepare a budget, make a shopping list, compare deals, buy in bulk and use promo codes for online discounts

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Grocery expenses typically make up the largest part of Ramadan shopping for households.

Families tend to go overboard when buying goods for iftars, suhoors and Eid Al Fitr, leaving a dent in their monthly budgets.

With inflation soaring globally on the back of rising energy and food prices, as well as supply chain disruptions, people in the UAE can adjust for costs incurred during the holy month with a few financial hacks.

Seventy-three per cent of consumers in the UAE plan to purchase their largest quantity of groceries during Ramadan, a March survey conducted by AdColony with research company GlobalWebIndex in the Emirates found.

About 45 per cent of consumers will visit stores for their Ramadan grocery shopping this year, while 46 per cent will shop online and use home delivery, the poll showed.

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Bulk buy your rice, lentils, olives and yogurts. Include extra boxes of dates and other gifts for when you visit families during Ramadan,
Rasheda Khatun Khan, a wealth and wellness expert

Grocery and fashion will have the most significant rise in spending in the Middle East and North Africa region during Ramadan this year, with 87 per cent and 70 per cent of consumers planning to increase their outlay in these categories, respectively, said a March report by RedSeer Consulting.

Financial experts advise consumers to prepare a budget for their Ramadan shopping to give them an idea of how much they will spend during the holy month. Shoppers are also urged to stick to their budget as much as possible.

“Try to do your shopping in one go. This will avoid extra trips to the supermarket where there is opportunity to spend more,” says Rasheda Khatun Khan, a wealth and wellness expert and founder of Design Your Life.

“You will also avoid the chaos of extra busy supermarkets during Ramadan. If you need fresh produce that can’t be bought to last the month, then decide on which date you will do the rest of the shopping.”

Consumers are advised to also make a shopping list that covers the whole month to avoid impulse buys.

Bulk-buy your rice, lentils, olives and yoghurts, Ms Khan says. Include extra boxes of dates and other gifts for when you visit families during Ramadan, she adds.

Shoppers can compare the multiple Ramadan offers available across supermarkets and choose the best ones, Ms Khan says.

UAE residents can also rely on Facebook groups that compile the best available supermarket deals.

Dirham Stretcher is one such group that prepares curated lists of discount codes and deals. For Ramadan, the group will publish its updated groceries “cheat sheet”, which is a list of supermarkets that covers the product categories they sell, delivery fees, whether online purchases are available and if there are any additional discounts available.

“This grocery shopping cheat sheet is available on www.sum.ae and we will also send out a newsletter with the best grocery deals,” says Susan Syrek, administrator of Dirham Stretcher, which has about 80,000 members in the UAE.

The group negotiates with stores and online supermarkets to offer followers extra discounts.

“Make a meal plan and buy only what you need, don’t buy anything you see just because it’s cheap,” says Selma Abdelhamid, another administrator of Dirham Stretcher.

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Compare prices online as websites are generally cheaper than supermarkets and get an additional discount by using a code
Selma Abdelhamid, administrator of Dirham Stretcher

“Know where to buy or order from. Take advantage of bundle offers. Compare prices online as websites are generally cheaper than supermarkets and get an additional discount by using a code.”

Big supermarket retailers and online grocery platforms run month-long promotions, discounts and deals during the holy month.

Lulu is offering discounts ranging from 30 per cent to 50 per cent on more than 15,000 products in categories such as fresh food, grocery, home appliances and electronics. Ramadan promotions are available both in-store and on Lulu’s online platforms.

“During Ramadan, we usually see a surge in sales of food, grocery and home appliances in the initial days, followed by lifestyle, fashion and gifting as we near the Eid holidays,” says V. Nandakumar, Lulu Group director of marketing and communications.

The retailer has also launched “Ramadan Kits” with essential grocery products at discounted prices. Consisting of products such rice, sugar, milk powder, grains, oil, coffee and tea, the kits come in two sizes for Dh99 and Dh149.

One of the best tips to save money is to check the promotion booklets and Lulu’s social media platforms regularly to find the latest offers and deals, Mr Nandakumar says.

“It is a good habit to buy required quantities when it comes to fresh and perishable produce, while stocking upon non-perishable products when there is a deal,” he says.

Meanwhile, Carrefour will introduce new deals each week during the holy month and offer discounts of up to 50 per cent on more than 10,000 products including fresh and frozen food, beverages, kitchenware, home appliances and electronics.

With customers buying groceries in larger volumes than usual during Ramadan, Carrefour introduced bulk offers on essentials such as flour, butter and rice to help shoppers cut costs.

Making a shopping list can help customers stick to their budgets as well as reduce food wastage, says Christophe Orcet, head of commercial and operations of Carrefour UAE at Majid Al Futtaim Retail.

“To shop more sustainably, we recommend choosing locally sourced or UAE-origin products — which incur no import costs or food miles and hence benefit customers’ wallets as much as the environment,” he adds.

The retailer advises customers to follow its online and social channels to remain up-to-date on daily discounts.

Customers can also save money by using Share, Majid Al Futtaim’s loyalty programme, says Mr Orcet. They earn double the points when purchasing from Carrefour during the holy month. These points can be used throughout Ramadan or saved for future purchases, he adds.

Online shopping has surged after the Covid-19 pandemic, which permanently changed consumer habits.

A Visa survey in November 2021 found that more than six in 10 consumers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia are now shopping online more compared with pre-pandemic levels.

Earlier research by Network International revealed that UAE shoppers spent 40 per cent more per visit on supermarket websites than in-store during 2020.

Online marketplaces such as Instashop, Kibsons, elGrocer and Talabat account for a large slice of grocery sales in the UAE.

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During Ramadan, we usually see a surge in sales of food, grocery and home appliances in the initial days, followed by lifestyle, fashion and gifting as we near the Eid holidays
V. Nandakumar, LuLu Group director of marketing and communications

Kibsons is offering a 20 per cent promotion for customers from March 26 until April 9, as well as from April 23 until April 29 in celebration of Eid.

“Even with less Covid-19 restrictions, people have realised the ease and convenience of online shopping,” says Dusty Tourani, procurement manager at Kibsons.

“Consumers should not always go for the lowest-priced items. This may be an excellent opportunity for customers to explore alternatives from different origins at a fair price point.”

Meanwhile, Dubai-based grocery platform elGrocer, which was last year acquired by e&, formerly known as the Etisalat Group, will offer a Dh50 discount on purchases above Dh250 during the holy month. It lists offers from its 500+ hypermarket, supermarket and speciality partner shops.

Customers can use CODE RAMADAN50 at check-out to redeem the instant discount, says Nader Amiri, founder and chief operating officer of elGrocer. Each user is allowed up to six redemptions until Eid.

elGrocer will also offer weekly promo codes when purchasing from participating brands across home care, food, personal care and beverages, among others.

Users can also check out the Smiles app to avail discount vouchers, Mr Amiri says.

With customers focused on preparing iftar and suhoor during Ramadan, elGrocer will provide offers on essentials such as fresh fruits and vegetables, butchery and bakery items, as well as gourmet grocery products like premium dates, Arabic sweets and speciality coffee, among others.

Meanwhile, during Eid, the online marketplace will focus on providing offers and discounts on food hampers and premium boxes of chocolates for family gatherings and celebrations, Mr Amiri says.

Updated: April 07, 2022, 5:00 AM
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