Harare-Zimbabwe’s alcohol consumption has shot up by 56 percent with beverage manufacturer Delta saying uptake of beer now matches peak levels recorded in 2009.
While the high alcohol imbibing rates might not bode well for good health, experts say this is yet another sign of growing consumer consumption which is an indicator of a budding economy.
The development is also evidence of sound performance being recorded by some of Zimbabwe’s industries in response to the growing fiscus, despite prevailing cash shortages.
In its trading update for the first quarter ended 30 June, Delta said consumption of lager beer had gone up 56 percent to reach historic highs.
“Lager beer volume is up 56% over prior year for the quarter matching the historical peak run rates post dollarisation.”
The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange listed company said it recorded increased volumes for all its beverage categories in what was yet another indication of enhanced consumer spending trends.
“All beverage categories recorded increases in revenue which has positively impacted on profitability and cashflows.”
According to Delta, the beverage business continued to record an upward trend, despite challenges in accessing foreign currency.
The company said consumption for sparkling beverages shored up by 23 percent.
“The business continues to record positive volume trends. There were significant product supply gaps arising from the shortages of imported raw materials and services as the access to foreign currency remains constrained.
“Whilst product supply is largely stable, imported inputs remain a constraint. The Sparkling beverages volume increased by 23% over prior year for the quarter. The soft drinks category was adversely affected by the challenges in securing imported raw materials, leading to extended periods of production stoppages and out of stock situations.”
Delta said volumes for the popular Chibuku Super back had roared back after initial challenges of sourcing packaging material
“In Zimbabwe, the Sorghum beer volume declined by 5% mainly due to shortages of packaging materials for Chibuku Super. Product supply had improved by the end of the quarter. The product mix has shifted to Chibuku Super which grew by 28% to contribute 84% of the volume.”
The beverage manufacturer said “Group revenue increased by 40% (34% organic growth) for the quarter reflecting the changes in category mix.”
Shareholders of Delta also smiled all the way to the bank, as the company also declared a dividend of US$25, 2 million.
Recently, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industry President Mr Sifelani Jabangwe noted that industry was experiencing an upward trend.
“The performance indicators are showing a positive trend. Capacity utilisation has increased and exports have grown,” he said.
Finance and Economic Planning Minister Patrick Chinamasa has said owing to the evident upward trajectory, treasury reviewed the economy growth rate from 4, 5 percent to 6 percent.
The World Bank also acknowledged the skyward trends as it revised Zimbabwe’s Gross Domestic Product to 2, 7 percent from the 1, 8 percent projected January this year.