Video: Ramadan boosts sale of Vimto in Oman

Energy Tuesday 05/June/2018 21:09 PM
By: Times News Service

Muscat: The advent of Ramadan has triggered a Vimto craze in homes across the Sultanate, with fans of the fruit-flavoured beverage considering it the drink of choice during Iftars.
Just how the phenomenon began in Oman is as interesting and mystifying as the purple drink is delicious. Speaking exclusively to the Times of Oman, Salah Al Hanshi, Director of ESL and General Foundation Programmes at the Modern College of Business and Science, said, “I believe Vimto in Oman first became popular back in the 80s, and then in the 90s, commercials on TV began promoting Vimto during Ramadan. So, people got very attached to it because of the commercials, especially those on MBC1.”
“A lot of people watch MBC TV during Ramadan and the commercials were shown, I would say, hundreds of times throughout the day. I think the main reason it became popular is because of the commercials, and the second thing is, it’s refreshing,” added Al Hanshi.
Vimto has a long-standing place at dinner tables in the region, with residents across the Arabian Gulf preferring it over nearly every other beverage during the Holy Month. Given its massive popularity, many might be surprised that the drink so many people in the Middle East know and love originated in England. The father of Vimto, John Noel Nichols, created the beverage in 1908 using grapes, black currants, raspberries and sugar.
Sales figures from Nichols PLC corroborate its massive popularity. In its 2017 annual report, John Nichols, Chairman of Nichols PLC and grandson of Vimto’s inventor, said, “The Group has delivered a strong revenue performance throughout 2017, with both the UK and international businesses contributing to a double-digit increase compared to the prior year.
“Sales to our international customers grew by 20.4 per cent to £32.0m (2016: £26.6m). Despite the reported challenges in Yemen, revenues to the Middle East region were up 13.4 per cent, although this was in the context of softer comparatives in the prior year (2016: -7.0 per cent).”
The delectable drink was first marketed as a herbal tonic, promising consumers “vim and vigour”, according to manufacturer Nichols PLC.
Vimto was first brought to the Middle East in 1928, when Abdullah Aujan & Brothers, a Saudi Commodity Trading company, acquired the exclusive rights to import and distribute the purple drink.
According to Vimto’s Middle East distributor, “More than half of our annual Vimto cordial sales happen during and just before Ramadan, making it the irreplaceable drink of choice at the Iftar table. Vimto has become a profound family tradition and its legacy is rooted in Khaleeji culture for nearly a century, carving a strong bond with consumers across different ages.”
Young Omani Hajer Al Harrasi agreed. “Vimto is a staple drink during the Ramadan meal and is an important part of family gatherings and as a beverage for Ramadan food. It also gives a sense of joy and pleasure to everyone, whether young or old.”
“The presence of Vimto at the Iftar table is not linked to any nutritional or health benefits. It symbolises friendly and passionate family gatherings,” he added.