With countless supermarkets and hypermarkets at every corner of the country, the options for residents are many. Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Stock image

Buying groceries and getting the best deal on everyday items in the UAE is not difficult. With countless supermarkets and hypermarkets at every corner of the country, the options for residents are many.

Besides hopping to the nearest grocery stores that store almost everything a household needs, there are also those who choose to buy them at wholesale markets to get the best prices. Gulf News decided to pick a few items a family would generally buy and see for ourselves.

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Gulf News spoke to a few people from the UAE who shared what they generally buy on a monthly basis to compare prices from wholesale markets versus leading supermarkets around the UAE. We also looked at BulkWhiz, an application used to buy grocery items in bulk, as the trend of shopping for everyday products online and through mobile phones is spreading.

A wholesale food items shop in Al Ras, Dubai. Image Credit: Falah Gulzar, Gulf News

Items like dairy products were not considered as they are generally not bought in bulk and require special storage facilities.

What items people generally purchase




Cooking oil




How much they cost

Tomatoes per kilogram –

(cheapest available at the time of research. These include local and international varieties)

Wholesale – Dh1.24

Spinneys – Dh6.50

Union Coop – Dh6.25

Lulu – Dh5.50

Bulk Whiz – Dh6.81

Onions per kilogram –

(cheapest available at the time of research. These include local and international varieties)

Wholesale – Dh2.6

Spinneys - Dh7.50

Union Coop – Dh4.15

Lulu – Dh5.50

Bulk Whiz – Dh2.84

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Varieties of rice stored at a shop in the Al Ras wholesale market in Dubai. Image Credit: Falah Gulzar, Gulf News

Basmati rice per 10 kilograms -

Wholesale - Dh50

Spinneys - Dh132

Union Coop - Dh128.50

Lulu - Dh130

Bulk Whiz –Dh65.44

Detergent per five kilograms –

Wholesale – Dh10

Spinneys - Dh38

Union Coop – Dh33

Lulu – Dh33.3

Bulk Whiz – Dh30.67

Soap per bar -

Wholesale - Dh1.25

Spinneys – Dh4.8

Union Coop – Dh4.50

Lulu – Dh3.40

Bulk Whiz –Dh3.9

Diapers per pack of roughly 56 pieces –

Wholesale - Dh30

Spinneys – Dh67.25

Union Coop - Dh59.50

Lulu – Dh75.50

Bulk Whiz –Dh53

Cooking oil per 1.8 litres -

(Sunflower oil)

Wholesale – Dh15

Spinneys – Dh22.40

Union Coop – Dh21.25

Lulu – Dh23.69

Bulk Whiz – Dh14.61

Who buys from wholesale markets?

Saifi Tayeb has been working in the wholesale market in Dubai for over 25 years and currently runs a shop in Al Ras, Deira.

Al Ras area
Al Ras area, Deira, Dubai Image Credit: Falah Gulzar/Gulf News

Speaking about his experience, Tayeb said that items sold in such markets are mainly bought by those who want to export large amounts.

A number of sales people had similar comments.

However, Tayeb noted that people with large families and bigger houses in the UAE tend to flock to the market.

“People with many children or those living in joint families come to us [wholesalers] to order grocery items,” Tayeb said.

Tayeb’s store mostly sells personal hygiene items and cleaning products.

“They [customers] send their vehicles and drivers to pick up items in bulk. We also deliver them if there is a good margin for us,” he said.

Al Ras map
Here is how to get to the Al Ras area in Dubai where there is a wholesale market for grocery items. Image Credit: Gulf News

Going by the prices of a few products we looked at above, people who flock to wholesale markets will be able to save a few dirhams for their grocery purchase.

Samina Siddiqui is a UAE resident for 24 years now and she has been buying her fruits and vegetables from wholesale markets instead of supermarkets from day one.

“I have done it from day one because it is much cheaper and now that I live close to the Al Aweer Central Fruit and Vegetable Market, they even deliver it to me,” the Dubai resident said.

Siddiqui believes in maintaining a balance between convenience and saving money where possible and buy other grocery items from supermarkets.

People who buy items in bulk from markets like the wholesale bazaar in Al Ras are looking to save money by getting ‘unbranded’ products or have a relatively high income and large storage space to keep bulk items.

However, this comes with a few disadvantages. Buying from wholesale markets means most products have to be bought in bulk and smaller families might find it inconvenient. Such large purchases also require big storage spaces to keep the items.


In conclusion, buying in bulk is cheaper but it depends on if you have the space and time for it. An average bill of the items listed above in a supermarket chain would come to around Dh280, while in a wholesale store, it would be Dh110. That is a saving of Dh170. But, this is for unbranded items. The decision is yours.

Note: The comparisons are made based on lowest available price and are not brand specific.