As hoarding picks up, food makers adapt

STORY: Prices for everyday goods are soaring worldwide.

That’s particularly true in parts of Asia and North Africa, where people spend a bigger proportion of their incomes on food.

In the Kazakh hub of Almaty some shoppers say it’s becoming a battle:

“Yes, we stock up like all ex-Soviet people, but, you know, we are so tired of chasing those prices, that this time I gave up. We cannot keep up. People buy sugar and flour by the sack-load, this makes us so neurotic and anxious, I don't know where we are headed.”

Shoppers in Almaty cite flour and sugar as among the staples being hoarded.

Similar stories are told in North African countries like Tunisia, Algeria and Libya.

Inflation in such developing countries is running well above even western Europe’s elevated levels.

In Egypt inflation hit 13.6% in July, while Turkey it was 80% in August.

Consumers in the region are spending less on non-essentials like clothing and electronics as a result.

In Kazakhstan shoppers are adapting:

“Yes, prices may go up, the dollar may go up. You start thinking either I stock up now at current prices or I will have to pay more later.”

The world’s big food firms have taken note.

Nestle says it’s noticed hoarding of soups and coffee.

It’s now adapting product ranges in Asia and North Africa in response.

On the agenda are increased pack sizes, and cheaper ingredients.

In Almaty though, that won’t be a solution for everyone.

Some shoppers say money is now too tight to buy in bulk.