6/12/03

Fashionable new drink in Malaysia is Iran's Zam Zam Cola

The Iranian-produced Zam Zam Cola, alternative to Coca Cola, is flying off the shelves in Malaysian Muslim restaurants and supermarkets as shoppers refuse to buy American products, IRNA reported from Kuala Lumpur.
The sole distributor of the drink in Malaysia, Al-Fajr (M) Sdn Bhd spokeswoman Norita Salleh said within six months of its entry into the Malaysian market, the Zam Zam Cola drink from Iran has gained far better response from the locals than expected, with almost 500,000 bottles of the drink distributed and sold during the period.
Norita, the company's sales and marketing division officer, said tremendous response for the drinks had been received from users in the area surrounding Kuala Lumpur as well as markets in the northern region and East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
Sales have been very encouraging due to the drink's quality and taste, she said.
"The drink which has also received international certifications such as the ISO 9002 and ISO 14001 has further convinced distributors and consumers," she said when contacted by IRNA here.
Due the strong demand, Norita said Al-Fajr (M) Sdn Bhd, is now planning to establish a plant in Rawang, near Kuala Lumpur to produce the drinks locally next year as a strategic move to expand the company and to market the drinks throughout Malaysia.
She said that among the retailers who made the most number of orders were Muslim restaurants, some supermarkets and roadside shops.
With higher demand, Al-Fajr would now have to increase its orders with the producer of the drink in Iran, Norita said.
She said Al-Fajr was also confident of capturing a good share of the cola drink market in Malaysia in a short period although it would have to compete with other brands of cola drinks that have been long established in the market.
Norita said the demand for Zam Zam Cola has gained tremendous increase after the Iraq war.
Despite the quick U.S. victory in Iraq, anti-American sentiment still runs high in the Muslim world, including Malaysia.
A Malaysian consumer group has called on Muslims to boycott Coca-Cola.
Nazim Johan, executive secretary of the Muslim Consumer Association of Malaysia said: "The boycott is in response to Western interference in the internal affairs of Muslim countries under the guise of fighting terrorists."
"It is to drive home a point to stop the interference and abuse," Nadzim told IRNA here.
"It is also a fight against discrimination, not just against Muslims but everyone."
Those taking part in the campaign include the 7,000 member Muslim Restaurant Operators of Malaysia, as well as many other catering operators.
Nadzim said the campaign will hurt Coca-Cola, but he also acknowledged it was "not going to run them out of business, nor will it end Coke's operation in Malaysia."
More than 60 percent of the Malaysia's 23 million population are Muslim.