What has bought about this sudden move by the Ministry of Economy? Positive action against obesity, diabetes, rotten teeth, or littering? An effort to force the general populace to switch to OwnBrand(TM) Cola, perhaps? Or are the plastic bottles that ultimately come from oil somehow more environmentally sustainable than alumininium, aluminium, aluminum or alumium?
Once we get past the 'Read me! Read me!' headline that suggests that the UAE has chosen its sledgehammer to crack the proverbial nut and has banned soft drinks, we find that the truth makes a lot more sense.
The reason given in this news article is that the cans are breaking the regulations by not having the price or ingredients displayed in Arabic.
I see. Putting aside the semantic issue about the naughty and disobedient cans, it's not exactly rocket surgery to stick a printed paper label on the product, is it? That's what happens to other imported prepacked goods, much to the irritation of those of us who would like to read what's invariably obscured by the label. What is Arabic for 'sugar', 'high-fructose corn syrup' and 'aspartame', by the way?
What is actually happening is made clearer in this news article. The drinks are on sale in both 300ml and 330ml for Coke and 355ml for Pepsi, and they're all up for sale at the same price. The news articles do note that it's only the 300ml cans that are being withdrawn from sale. Apparently, Joe Public cannot tell that the big cans on sale at Dh1.50 offer better value than small cans at Dh1.50, and he and has to be protected. The cost to manufacture, market and transport any can size has got to be virtually identical: what's wrong with "...and up to 55ml free!"? This difference is worth Dh0.275 (less than a shilling in UK old money) to Mr Public, and is for less than four level tablespoons of the actual product.
As the stuff is made locally in the UAE, it surely cannot be beyond the wit of man to print the ingredients list in Arabic, can it? Even some of my beer has Arabic ingredients.
My other canned drink of choice is best served with juniper-berry flavoured beverage and a dash of lemon. I wonder if the curious mixture of 300ml and 330ml packaging will affect tonic water and other products, or be limited to cola?