Over 50% discounts on Maliban Chocolate Biscuits? Find Out the Facts…

Misleading Social

Amidst the worst economic crisis experienced by Sri Lanka since independence, the food inflation has risen alarmingly over the last few months resulting in huge spikes in almost all of the food products. Meanwhile, the price hike of biscuit products was a major talking point among social media users, and we noticed a number of campaigns requesting to boycott these products as well.

Within this context, a series of images were widely shared, claiming to be over 50% discounts offered by biscuit manufacturers, as the sales were continuously getting affected. However, our investigation found these images to be altered.

Social Media Posts

The below Facebook post indicated that Maliban Chocolate Cream Biscuit prices were reduced by more than 50%, with the selling price of a 400-gram packet being offered at Rs.250/- from the regular price of Rs.600/-

Facebook | Archived

Same image got viral among Sinhala and Tamil users, and below is one such post which claimed the Maliban Chocolate biscuit packet was offered at Rs.300/- with a 50% discount.

Facebook | Archived 

Fact Check

We contacted a number of stakeholders to find out the authenticity of these viral social media posts related to mega price discounts for biscuits.

Maliban Biscuit Manufactories (Pvt) Limited

We contacted top management of Maliban Biscuits and said they confirmed that the price of a packet of 400 grams of chocolate cream biscuits remains at Rs.600/-. They pointed out that photos indicating around 50% discounts getting shared on social media were visibly altered images.

The top management of Maliban clarified that even though discounts are offered to major supermarkets as well as smaller departmental stores on many biscuit products from time to time, these discounts have never been up to 50% as claimed on social media posts.

They further mentioned that after receiving requests for discounts by supermarkets, the marketing department of Maliban would coordinate with them to roll out the discounts, and they are usually offered to customers via loyalty member schemes etc. and these practices have been in place for a number of years.

Ceylon Biscuits Limited (Munchee)

Similar claims of price discounts were shared with regards to Munchee biscuit products as well and CBL management also clarified that there was no price change in biscuit products, but seasonal discounts had been misinterpreted by some social media users as price drops, which had led to the confusion.

CBL management stated that the discount offered to Keells supermarket chain from the company end was 20% and the detailed fact check report in Sinhala language can be read here.

Cargills Food City

Many people mentioned in the comments section that the supermarket shown in the above social media photos belongs to Cargills Food City. So, we contacted the marketing department of Cargills. They explained that the photos do not seem to appear from a Cargills outlet as the loyalty scheme in place at Cargills is branded as “Cargills Rewards” and not as Loyalty Card usually.

Furthermore, the discounts given by Cargills usually does not exceed 30% and every week they give special discounts on a range of products. For biscuits also special discounts schemes are in place such as to promote sales, such as to offer 2nd purchase of the same product with half the price. In such cases one could purchase 2 biscuit packets of the same type and avail a total discount of 25% on each packet. The Cargills management emphasized that these offers are only given for the customers with Cargills Rewards cards.

Keells Super 

The manager of Grocery Category at Keells Super also said that the promotional programs are implemented on many items and not only for biscuit products. She also clarified that these discounts are only offered during a promotional period. In the case of Munchee biscuit price discounts, a further 5% discount was given by Keells Super, in addition to the 20% offered by CBL, and a total of 25% discount was given towards the customer during a 3-week promotional period.

SATHOSA

We also contacted a manager of a Lanka Sathosa branch to get their views on price discounts offered for biscuit products. He said that there isn’t any loyalty scheme in place at Sathosa and each customer is given the displayed discount for a particular food item from time to time. He also added that there has not been any decrease in the price of biscuits and however some discounts have been offered to the customers with the maximum discount values usually ranging between 15%-20%.

We did a further analysis on the origins of the viral image and noticed that same image had been shared few weeks ago as seen below with the same background

Facebook | Archived Link

However, in this photo, the price of a 400-gram Maliban Chocolate Cream Biscuit 400 grams pack is shown as Rs.552/-. Accordingly, the discount offered in this case is only 8% corresponding to the usual price of Rs.600/- Few other posts with the same image can be reached herehere and here.

Nevertheless, the biscuit manufacturers also recently held a press conference and said that many people had in fact refrained from buying biscuit products as a result of campaigns to avoid buying biscuits. Biscuit manufacturers state that it’s not justified to blame only the biscuit industry when many other industries have increased selling prices by many folds, including that of raw materials for biscuit manufacturing. More on this can be seen in the below video.

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Conclusion

Our investigation shows that the photos viral among social media users claiming to be over 50-60% price discounts offered for Maliban Chocolate Cream Biscuits 400-grams packs are not true and were in fact a set of altered images.

The biscuit manufacturing companies as well as main supermarket chains confirmed that confirmed that while discounts are offered for biscuits like many other products from time to time for limited periods and these discounts do not exceed 30%

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Title:Over 50% discounts on Maliban Chocolate Biscuits? Find Out the Facts…

Fact Check By: Kalana Krishantha 

Result: Misleading

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