Tests reveal that more than half of leading soft drinks, like Coke and Pepsi, contain traces of alcohol, according to French research Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai: The Ministry of Economy will decide on a price increase request for Pepsi and Coca-Cola products by the end of next week, a top official said.

"We have received the request from both companies and we will send it to the higher committee of consumer protection for approval," Ahmad Abdul Aziz Al Shehi, director-general of the Ministry of Economy (MoE) told Gulf News in a recent interview.

Though the two companies have not stated the price yet, Al Shehi said that if approved, the increase would be less than 100 per cent.

So, as the current price of a regular can is Dh1, its new price would be under Dh2.

In all GCC countries except the UAE and Qatar, Pepsi and Coca-Cola prices have increased. While the proposal for an increase was given a year ago, the situation has changed and the companies have a better argument at this point, Al Shehi said.

Al Ahlia Gulf Line, manufacturer and distributor of Coca-Cola products in the UAE, said that it had several meetings with the MoE for a price increase request.

"We have maintained our price in [the] UAE for the past 22 years but with an increase in almost all raw materials and costs involved in the manufacturing of products ...there should be now a price review," Antoine Tayyar, Public Affairs and Communications Director for The Coca-Cola Export Corporation, Middle East said in a statement.

Sugar prices increased 199 per cent compared to 2004, he said. "There is probably no other consumer product which [has] kept the same price for more than two decades. The price is an "adjustment" rather than an "increase", and should we have increased our prices to go along with cost increases year on year, our prices would have been much higher today," Tayyar said.

"As an industry, all beverage producers are facing similar challenges and a price correction needs to happen because the industry cannot absorb the increases any longer."

Officials from Dubai Refreshment Company, distributors of Pepsi products in the UAE, were not available for comments.