Food Production Daily, May 19, 2003
19/05/03 – Qibla Cola, the UK soft drink brand which bills itself as Dutch market.
The company, which recently extended its range of products to include orange and lemon-lime carbonates and a bottled water product, will focus primarily on its cola brands in the Dutch market, but the marketing message will be the same as in the UK.
Zafer Iqbal, CEO of the company, said: “The Qibla brand has been designed to provide consumers from within the Muslim community and all people of conscience with an alternative brand of this popular soft drink.
“Qibla offers a real alternative for people concerned by the practices of some major western multinationals who support unjust causes and oppression. By choosing to boycott major brands, consumers are sending a powerful signal – that the exploitation of people cannot continue unchecked. Qibla Cola represents the conscious choice for consumers who reject injustice and exploitation.”
Qibla pledges to give 10 per cent of all profits made to world causes, and has already paired up with a leading charity organisation, specialising in delivering projects to some of the most deprived communities in the world. This altruistic stance is thought likely to appeal to the liberal Dutch consumers.
The company’s brands will be distributed in the Netherlands by Searise Financing & Trading, and Somayeh Arshi of the Dutch company commented: “We have witnessed a massive demand for a real alternative to US brands from all over the Netherlands, and we see Qibla Cola as filling this vacuum.”
But despite its liberal reputation, the Netherlands has seen a distinct swing to the right in recent years, and the launch of a product created by Muslims with a distinct anti-western stance could play directly into the hands of extreme right wingers who have already seen a rise in support for their anti-immigration stance.