The Zimbabwean industry has been through a lot. Not only do they have to survive every misguided Statutory Instrument the government throws against them, they also have to contend with a misfiring economy. Despite all this, Zimbabwe is still home to proud and iconic brands. Among the most revered of these is Mazoe particularly the Orange Crush flavour. It is understandable then that most Zimbabweans are happy that their favourite drink is now selling at an affordable S$3.50 per 2-litre bottle.

Yes, that is right. Mazoe Orange Crush is selling at US$3.50 per 2 litre in tuckshops. The price, is of course a bit higher in supermarkets like OK where it is selling for about US$4.00. Other flavours of Mazoe such as cream soda, peach and raspberry are selling at US$3.00 per 2 litre bottle. Innscor Africa’s Bally House was selling for US$2.50 per 2-litre bottle when we recently conducted our survey and 5 litres of Cool Sip were going for US$3.50.

The Great Mazoe Price Hike of 2024

In case you were living under a rock. All these are massive price reductions. Thanks to a sugar tax introduced by Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube in his budget last year, companies that sell drinks were forced to introduce massive price hikes. 2 litre bottles of Mazoe Orange were now being sold for an eye-watering price of US$5.20 in some supermarkets. The recommended retail price was moved from US$3.50 to US$4.50.

Possible reasons for the price fall

No reason has been given for the fall in price of Mazoe but we have not seen any government announcement scrapping the ill-advised sugar tax. We can therefore safely assume that the tax is still in effect although this would not be the first hare-brained government scheme to be silently discarded. The tax was never about health or sugar. The profligate Zimbabwean government is always looking for ways to raise more money to fund its massive spending.

One very possible reason for the fall in prices is that Schweppes, the makers of Mazoe, might have decided to absorb some of the costs that came with the sugar tax. We saw this with bread. Bread was now selling for around US$1.10 due to VAT being introduced on bread. There was a massive fall in demand as cash-strapped Zimbabweans could no longer afford the new price. Bakers decided to absorb the costs associated with VAT and now all is well.