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PRIME price reduction: Shoprite switches to local manufacturer

Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

  • PRIME Hydration is selling for 75% less than in Checkers stores, just over a year after Shoprite started selling the drink in South Africa.
  • Shoprite says it is getting rid of existing stock because it will source it from a local manufacturer.
  • The product, which is popular with Generation Z, is at the center of lawsuits in the United States over its caffeine content and accusations of the presence of “permanent chemicals.”
  • For more financial news, go to the News24 Business homepage.

PRIME Hydration, the drinks brand part-owned and endorsed by famous YouTubers Logan Paul and KSI, is selling for just R10 in Shoprite’s Checkers stores, around 75% less than its starting price last year.

To explain Friday’s huge price drop, Shoprite, which used its logistics and distribution muscle to bring the popular drink to its Checkers and Checkers Hyper stores in April last year, said it had reduced the price significantly to get rid of all the existing imported products. stock as it was prepared until now you get it from a local manufacturer.

When South Africa’s largest retailer first announced on the market that it would be bringing the drink to South Africa for R39.99 in April last year, it created a stir on social media as the drink had previously been selling in some outlets. sale in South Africa for up to R500. for a 500 ml bottle due to strong demand for the drink from Generation Z.

Even today, some of the flavours, such as a 500ml bottle of Strawberry and Watermelon, sell for up to R120 on Takealot.com.

Responding to questions from News24, Shoprite said supermarket chain Checkers was “clearing the last of its imported PRIME Hydration stock as the product will soon be produced and bottled locally”. He did not reveal the name of the local manufacturer.

The reduced price in Checkers and Checkers Hyper stores is also unrelated to the controversy surrounding the PRIME group’s sports energy drinks in the US, where lawsuits have been filed over their chemical composition and the supposedly excessive amounts of caffeine they contain. .

The most recent lawsuit in New York, as reported by USA Today in April, revolved around alleged deceptive practices regarding the company’s 12-ounce energy drinks that contain between 215 and 225 milligrams of caffeine in contrast to the advertised 200 milligrams. .

USA Today pointed to another 2023 class action lawsuit, which alleges that the grape flavor of the company’s sports drinks contains perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), or “forever chemicals.”

When asked to comment on US news about PRIME Hydration, Shoprite said all of its imports underwent “port authority inspections” by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to “ensure compliance with health standards and food security in South Africa.

“In addition, the retail group only purchases products from accredited and vetted companies that have the required food safety certifications.”

Takealot declined to comment.

YouTuber Paul himself dismissed the allegations in a video on Tiktok, saying PRIME followed “all guidelines and regulations,” adding that previous claims that the US Food and Drug Administration was investigating the drink “never happened.”

“They never called because we followed all the guidelines and regulations.”

Regarding lawsuits in the US, Paul also noted that in that country “anyone can sue anyone at any time.”

“That does not make the claim true and in this case it is not. There are claims that the chemicals always come from plastic, so in this case they are not talking about the actual drink, the PRIME liquid, they are talking about the bottle that PRIME is manufactured in. This is not a dumb operation. We use leading bottle manufacturers in the United States…”

Shoprite also referred News24 to a statement from Congo Brands, the company that owns the PRIME brand, which noted that its “local colleagues” in the US had filed a motion to dismiss the PFAS lawsuit case. The statement in question from Congo Brands’ Switzerland office for Europe, the Middle East and Africa appeared to be directed at the group’s retail partners.

“No evidence was provided for the case. We are challenging the allegations comprehensively, including with facts based on science from our manufacturing and packaging partners,” the statement said.

As for what exactly PFAS chemicals are, he said they are a “group of manufactured chemicals that have been widely used in industry and consumer products since the 1940s due to their advantageous properties.”

Congo Brands said a common concern about PFAS substances is that many break down very slowly and consequently can accumulate in the environment over time.

“Accumulation of certain PFAS has also been shown through blood analysis to occur in humans and animals. The science surrounding the potential negative health effects of this bioaccumulation is still developing, as with many environmental contaminations.”

Congo Brands also asked its retail partners to assure their customers that it “at all times complies with all relevant regulatory requirements across all of its trading territories.”

“Our raw materials, packaging materials, manufacturing and storage/distribution processes are protected by strict processes to ensure high quality products.”