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Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

The damage already done

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Castel Group’s apology and attempt to withdraw Sobo Orange Squash which the company distributed on the market despite its being defective has come too late when the damage has already been done.
Malawians have grown up and loved their Sobo Orange Squash. It is, therefore, too easy for a Malawian to detect that there is something wrong with the drink they have known since young.
In all this, what we fail to understand is how a company of Castel stature and reputation would sleep and allow such a strange product find its way on the shelves of reputable shops like the ones we have mentioned in the story.
We believe Castel has a better explanation than the PR they are giving. By flooding the market with a defective brand, Castel has not only subjected their loyal customers to consume a strange drink other than the one they thought they were buying but put the seriousness of the company’s product in question. Malawians, as we said before, have lived with their Sobo Orange Squash and it is only now that they have experienced this.
If, as some people are saying, it is true that Castel was attempting to change the formula of producing Sobo Orange Squash, we believe consumers have got all the right to be informed in advance other than being taken by surprise as has been the case.
While we appreciate that new entities come with new products, we would advise Castel to do a proper market research to see which products to change and which ones to maintain.
We appreciate the effort to withdraw the defective batch as well as the offer to trade the strange concoction with Sobo Orange Squash that we all know, but some people who have consumed it might have suffered health-wise.
On the other hand, we sympathise with Castel on the presumption that some of the changes they are making are being driven by market forces. Lately, there has been an influx of some questionable drinks and, maybe, Castel is being pushed to change things to compete on the market.
As relevant authorities will be handling the “bad Sobo saga”, we would like them to extend and also do a proper check on other drinks that have flooded the market; otherwise, Malawians will be drinking poison unknowingly.

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