Dubai: Once considered out of reach of the masses, the exotic strawberry has flooded the UAE markets, with promotional prices coming down to Dh10-Dh12 a kilogram.
As XPRESS did the rounds of the supermarkets, we found that it is the local and Egyptian varieties that are selling at marked down prices, while the western imports continue to command high prices.
Subhash K, marketing head at Choithrams, said, “Compared to previous years, this year the strawberry season in Egypt has been good in terms of quality and there has been an oversupply to the UAE.”
He said, “Egyptian strawberries are usually priced at Dh20-Dh24 a kilogram (four 250 gram clamshell pack) but during promotions they cost around Dh12 a kilogram. Last year, we were selling the same for Dh28-Dh32 a kilogram.”
A source at Geant Hypermarket said, “The Middle East in general has seen a bumper production of strawberries due to the sunny weather. The season starts around October-November and ends in April. So with good supplies strawberries from this region are being sold at Dh10 for a kilogram.”
He said even the much sought after Moroccan varieties, which are known for their sweetness, are selling for Dh22 per kilogram.
However, western varieties still command a premium. Spanish strawberries at Choithrams for instance cost Dh67 a kilogram (for 250 gram clamshell pack) while American and Dutch varieties at Geant range between Dh24 and Dh48 a kilogram.
A vendor at a local fruit and vegetable shop in Bur Dubai said, “Earlier strawberries were bought only by the rich because they were expensive. Today, it is one of the most affordable fruits which everyone wants to buy.”
The Geant source agrees. “People today are very health conscious and are aware that berries carry vital antioxidants. Strawberries are the most affordable berries, so a lot of people tend to buy them.”
An Indian resident of Palm Jumeirah, who sources fruit and vegetables from the Awir Fruit and Vegetable Market, said, “We are making the most of the seasonal strawberry produce and use them in everything from salads to milkshakes and dessert.”
Another mum who posted a picture of a carton of strawberries on an online forum, said she couldn’t get over her purchase at a leading supermarket. “Too good to be true – just Dh20 for this whole box,” she wrote.