Rice, flour and oil flying off shelves

By Camille Bethel

Both customers and supermarket managers have expressed satisfaction with the roll-out of the reduced prices on the National Flour Mills (NFM) brands of flour, oil and rice which took effect yesterday and ends today.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced the 20 per cent reduction on the three items at last week’s post-Cabinet press conference where she described the reduction on the items as a Christmas gift to the nation.

A manager at Tru Valu Supermarket, Valsayn, told the Express yesterday that many of their customers thought the reduction in the prices of the items was from Sunday and came in to make their purchases but yesterday the roll- out was smooth.

“From this morning we had a pretty good rush, most of the customers came in for our rice, oil and flour this morning...many of the customers ran in to get just that,” she said.

General manager at X-tra Foods, Grand Bazaar, Kapil Jagdeo, said customers had been responding very positively to the reduction of the prices on the three items.

“The customers are coming in, actually looking for the discounts. They came in asking about the discounted items and it has been really, really selling. 

“We have customers coming in and picking up three and four packs of rice and even more flour than they would usually buy in preparation for next month because of the reduced prices so they are maximising on the discount that is available right now, he said.

Asked about the initial confusion when the announcement in the reduction of the prices were initially made, Jagdeo said they were cleared up by NFM in an e-mail sent to all supermarkets. 

“That was cleared up because we were given a rundown of what brands were discounted, etc,” he said. 

Customer Roxanne Noriega told the Express she was very happy with the reduced price on flour and rice because it has helped reduce her bill. 

Her only issue was it should have been done earlier “because most people would have bought groceries before and it should have been permanent”.

Another customer said she too was taking advantage of the prices on the basic food items because “it was a good reduction. The flour itself is a big reduction”.

A pensioner who was also doing her Christmas shopping with relatives said she, too, was happy for the reduction on the flour, rice and oil.

One man who came in with his wife picked up three extra sacks of flour and rice for his household which he said would last his family into the new year.

“We’re taking advantage of the prices,” he said with a chuckle. 

His wife added, “This is a good thing and one that we are capitalising on.”

In an announcement addressed to retailers, NFM assured that once they followed the guidelines stipulated for the discount to customers rebates will apply.

“NFM wishes to inform all retailers that it will guarantee the announced 20 per cent rebate on the following flour, soya bean oil and rice products purchased from NFM: 2kg sizes of Ibis, Lotus, Good and Natural, Hibiscus and Cuisine brands of flour only; 10 kg Ibis, Lotus, Hibiscus and Club Select brands of flour only. All sizes of Lotus soya bean oil only and Lotus brand of parboiled rice only (1kg, 2kg, 4kg and 9kg).

“All rebates of 20 per cent are conditional upon passing these savings on to consumers via discounted retail prices on Monday 23 and Tuesday 24 December 2013. Rebates will be guaranteed on all these flour, rice and oil products for invoices dated from December 16 to 24, 2013,” the NFM announcement stated.

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