What is the history of Carrefour Kenya and Expired Supermarket products?
Selling of expired products is one the major issues among customers who mostly buy the food products. After Denis Okari’s recent expose on food and meat we need to be even more careful.
Customers Buying Experience of Short Expiry Products from Supermarkets An Evidence from major Supermarkets in Kenya. In recent years there has been rapid growth of supermarket chains like Nakumatt, Uchumi, Tuskys, Naivas and Carrefour different locations (TRM, Junction, Two Rivers Mall) in Kenya.
Carrefour has been on a major expansion drive, taking up spaces previously occupied by struggling local retailers Uchumi and Nakumatt at prime spots including Village Market, Sarit Centre, Junction, Galleria and Thika Road Mall. Carrefour, which launched its first store in Nairobi in 2016, currently operates two hypermarket locations, one at the Hub and the other at Two Rivers. The other outlets are currently small stores offering mainly basic essentials.
Carrefour has been fined over and over Again over sale of expired food. Officials said the suppliers altered the production date on the products to prolong their shelf life. The administration has confiscated the expired products and ordered the suppliers to refund the buyers 10 times of the money they paid.
Carrefour Apologized to Consumers. As early as 2017, Kendesk reported that There has also been a Spotlight On Poor Customer Service At The Carrefour Supermarkets In Kenya.
Soko Directory recently shared a story of Tonnes of Expired Rice, Sugar Being Repackaged Seized in Kariobangi. Kenya is the true definition of the land of the walking dead. From the consuming sugar said to be containing mercury to eating samosa containing cat meat. From eating Githeri softened by painkillers to eating expired rice.
Imagine rice that expired in 2017 is packaged in bags with dates that indicate that it will expire in 2022 and then sold to unsuspecting consumers. Imagine sugar that expired in 2015 is packaged in bags with dates that indicate that it will expire in 2020 and 2022 and sold to unsuspecting Kenyans. On Tuesday, police, and detectives raided a godown in Kariobangi South, Nairobi, and seized tonnes of expired sugar and rice that were being repackaged as “Amar” and “Day to Day” brands.
Details have emerged that the businessman, who has since escaped, has been repackaging sugar, rice, and popcorns in new bags reviewing both manufacturing and expiry dates. Brazilian sugar that had been packaged as Ndhiwa Sugar was also found in the building though it is not known how long the practice has been going on and how much of the repackaged product is already on the market. Interestingly, all the new bags had the KEBS stickers meaning the repackaged products are hitting the market as genuine and approved products.
Greedy Businessmen have been Killing Kenyans. For a long time, greedy businessmen in Kenya, who do not care about the health of consumers have been importing expired or low-quality products, repackage them and then sell them at the prevailing market prices. At one point, Mumias Sugar Company had to issue a protesting statement after it stopped producing sugar but its brand continued to appear on supermarket and shop shelves for months. It was found out that scrupulous businessmen were repackaging expired and smuggled sugar into Mumias Sugar packets and selling it.
Some have also been selling expired sanitary towels by changing the expiry date and sometimes packaging them in known brands such as Always.
In 2017, Unilever gave Kenyans expiring products as free samples. Hundreds of Nairobians were treated to free deodorants from Unilever Kenya. A Coaster bus strategically parked at the busy Railways terminus in the city centre had unknown amounts of cartons containing Rexona 15ml anti-perspirant deodorant roll-ons. An army of sales ladies dished out the roll-ons in twos, threes, fours and for those lucky enough to have bags and paper bags, in tens and even more.
Typical of free things, there was an initial scramble for the personal hygiene products by commuters who use this terminus or walk through it, but there was more coming from the Coaster bus until the sales ladies literally begged passersby to help themselves to more of the products.
Turns out, there was a catch – and toxic one – which is likely to put the leading fast-moving consumer goods manufacture at logger heads with authorities: the deodorants had only days to expire.
A Business Today reporter was among the beneficiaries of this “benevolence” from Unilever, which is a big brand in personal hygiene products with a number of brands including Rexona soap and antiperspirants, Vaseline jelly and lotions, Sunlight and Geisha soaps, among others. The four samples that our reporter received are all expiring on 23rd June this year, meaning that they were being given out for free just a week to their expiry date to clear their warehouse. The products were manufactured on 23rd June 2015, according to the labels.
To make them look genuine free samples or freebies, the roll-ons containers bear “Sample Only. Not for Sale” sticker. Hundreds of people took the products not knowing that could expose themselves to health risks by using the products beyond their sell by date. The 15ml container can last for two or so weeks for an average user, and given that many people got more than one, the usage will certainly go beyond the 23rd June expiry date.
As it got darker, another coaster arrived, possibly with more cartons as the ladies gave out expired merchandise in the cover of the night in what was certainly a dumping strategy for products that retailers cannot stock on their shelves. Both buses were unbranded, indicating the company may have hired private agents to do the work. It’s likely there were other similar buses dishing out more of the products in different parts of the city or country.
The personal hygiene market has recorded a growth in competition both from local and international brands such as Nivea. The Rexona brand, which was relaunched in Kenya a few years ago decades after being withdrawn, has failed to appeal to customers who appear to have shifted loyalties to other brands. Both the Rexona Soap and deo, which were rebranded to target the youthful customer, are yet to find a footing in the Kenyan market.
At that time, the European based supermarket Carrefour, which was the first hypermarket in the world has finally opened two branches in Kenya. One at the Hub Karen, another one at Two Rivers Mall and is set out to open another one at Thika Road Mall. It is quite unfortunate that Kenyan branches have been filled with a lot of controversy over bad customer service being offered across the supermarkets. Some of their customers took it to Facebook to air out their views, something that sent social media in a frenzy.
Carrefour has been accused of refusing to refund after selling out of date cheese, National Business Daily reported. According to the paper, a customer surnamed He purchased cheese totaling 148.4 yuan ($23.2) from a Carrefour outlet on July 10. He was refused a refund and compensation after noticing that the product had to be consumed by July 2. Based on Chinese law, the retailer is required to pay a compensation of ten times the original price for expired product, but Carrefour only agreed to pay 500 yuan.
He took Carrefour to court, saying that he had previously bought out of date products from other supermarkets and afterward received compensation of tenfold from several of these supermarkets, the paper said. The paper reported that an official from Carrefour accused He of knowingly purchasing the expired product. The company refuses to pay the claimed compensation.
In spite of all this, Carrefour Kenya annual sales grow 71% to US$137.71m amid expansion plans. But who owns Carrefour Kenya Supermarkets and how do they manage to offer unbeatable deals, offeres and amazing discounts like their famous Black Friday sale? Majid Al Futtaim, the Carrefour exclusive franchise holder in Kenya and 37 other countries, says its store at Nairobi’s The Hub Karen mall made 54.8 million United Arab Emirates dirhams (Sh1.54 billion) between May and December 2016.
This could be attributed to their anti-food waste policy. Food is precious – it has value and we respect what it’s worth. Anti-wastage: obviously, as a priority, this means ensuring that we don’t produce waste. Among our producers, during transport operations, in our stores, among our customers: we are taking action at all levels.
Giving away everything that can be given away: unsold stock is donated to local associations set up to tackle poverty. This way, they help people and families on very low incomes. This is a community solution (go to the Carrefour Foundation’s website), providing people with a more balanced and varied diet, and in sufficient quantities. And as well as simply donating foodstuffs, Carrefour makes sure that they are stored and transported in the right conditions (refrigerated lorries, cold storage rooms, etc.)
Carrefour, a French multinational retailer, reported remarkable performance in its Kenyan business after growing its annual sales 71% to US$137.71m during its 2018 financial year. Majid Al Futtaim, the exclusive holder of Carrefour’s franchise in Kenya, highlighted that the performance was part of the group’s footprint expansion considering that its 2017 sales only amounted to US$80.52 million. Majid Al Futtaim made public the group’s Kenya annual sales in a newly-released financial report that also puts its local assets as of December 2018 at US$42.69 million, up from US$30.78 million in December 2017, reports Business Daily.
Carrefour in France has gone further. After the vote of the French Senate that effectively suppressed the use of the wording “Best before” (the one on non-perishable products), and a series of quality controls and food tests, it has taken a stand by changing the expiry date on 350 commercial brand products. Among these, the date of the wording “Best before” has been extended on 135 products such as cereals, rice, nuts, preserves; and there is no date at all on 50 products, including salt, sugar and vinegar. On fresh produce the “Best before” date has been extended from 7 to 10 days on yoghurt and from 2 to 8 days on spoon desserts.
Currently, Carrefour has six stores in Kenya as well as an entertainment unit and has embarked on an aggressive expansion strategy taking over spaces previously occupied by struggling supermarket chains in the country. Last year, the retailer opened its latest store at the prime Junction Mall, which was previously occupied by struggling retailer Nakumatt rising its outlets count six. The retailer has been expanding its presence in Kenya taking over spaces previously occupied by struggling supermarket chains, including Nakumatt and Uchumi, as well as opening new spaces to cash in on the underserved market. Carrefour also runs branches at the Hub in Karen, Village Market, Two Rivers Mall, Thika Road Mall (TRM) and at Sarit Centre mall in Westlands and has unveiled plans of opening new spaces this year.
Carrefour supermarket is famous among shoppers in the city. The chain store offers a shopping experience in the country that is top notch compared to previous supermarkets. Carrefour has sufficient aisles for shoppers to freely move their trolleys without the fear of toppling and has a wide range of products under one roof. Carrefour supermarkets also seemed to have the newest brands in stock unlike other supermarkets at the time of our supermarket surveillance tour, they had a new brand of Rina cooking oil and the new pampers jumbo pack. Pricing of products is a few shillings cheaper compared to Tuskys which is also important to note that it is located in the CBD, where running a business is a little bit more expensive. Carrefour supermarket could, however, do a better job if they increased their customer assistant personnel and also updated their price tags to avoid inconveniencing their customers as occurred with the price of diapers which they had not yet pulled off the previous promotional price tag which was misleading to customers.
Carrefour is set to open a seventh store taking up the Nakumatt Mega space which the Kenyan retailer vacated in September 2018. As part of its expansion strategy, Carrefour embarked on refurbishment of its Village Market, Junction and Thika Road Mall (TRM) stores which has subsequently seen the previously operated mini-marts increase their space and products count. Both multinational and local retailers have been seen to increase their investments in Kenya by the struggle of two local retailers, Uchumi and Nakumatt, which has been stiffening competition.
Carrefour food products destroyed over quality problems years ago in China: SIX Carrefour food products including cheese and yoghurt imported by a Shanghai trade company, Kraft sugar-free chocolate baking pieces and a New Zealand baby milk formula were destroyed or returned by China’s Customs for quality problems, the country’s top quality watchdog said yesterday.
Carrefour was again charged with selling ham products: Carrefour was again charged with selling ham products with expired dates. -It was discovered that check sheets, used to confirm labeling information, had not been filled out properly. -The result was drop in consumers‟ trust of the Carrefour store brand.
Am not sure what should be done to compel Carrefour supermarkets to upgrade and completely overhaul their customer service department. Remember, potential clients would make a decision based on these experiences. This being customer service week, I hope to see Carrefour enact some strict customer service policies that would change its image that has now been tainted by the poor customer experiences from some of its customers. Whether by training their employees or treating them well, something has to be done.