Gulf Printing and Packaging provides packaging materials for some of the leading brands in the Middle East Image Credit: Supplied

Mohamed Abou Khalid, CEO, Gulf Printing and Packaging, elaborates on the reasons behind setting up base at Kizad while discussing expansion plans for the brand with GN Focus

When and why did Gulf Printing and Packaging set up base in Kizad?

We have our parent company in Kuwait and this venture was undertaken to move out of Kuwait for expansion purposes. We started operations in March last year, with the packaging unit catering to groups mainly in the food market. Kizad, with its many food parks and other food manufacturing units, is an ideal place to set up shop.

Located just a few kilometres away from Khalifa Port and halfway between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Kizad allows us to easily connect to a large number of international shipping destinations, and enjoy world-class infrastructure and dedicated investor support.

What are your growth plans to cater to the packaging requirements of the UAE market?

We are looking for a larger scope into the UAE market in the food packaging sector, as well as other aspects of packaging, which we may expand into in the future such as cups, buckets, labels and more.

What are the high-growth sectors in the UAE for the next five years?

What we are targeting right now are high-growth areas; food is one area we are actively pursuing and the FMCG sector is another. These are areas we want to grow, taking the nation’s needs into consideration.

We understand how important sustainability is and we are working with certain manufacturers in Europe who are now producing boards that don't use plastic.

- Mohamed Abou Khalid, CEO, Gulf Printing and Packaging

Please elaborate on your product portfolio.

We are mostly into folding export boxes for packaging, whether it is directly to the consumer or packaging packs and directly contact food companies. You will find these with fast food chains. Gulf Printing and Packaging is the provider of packaging materials for McDonalds as well as other leading brands in the Middle East.

The facility will also produce folding paper packaging and printing products for other leading brands in the UAE, in addition to other markets both regionally and internationally including Saudi Arabia Africa and Europe. All export-import activities will be done via Abu Dhabi Ports’ flagship port, Khalifa Port.

What are some of the advanced technologies adopted by your company?

As far as advanced technologies go, ours is the biggest state-of-the-art direct food contact factory in the region. We work with suppliers who give us certified boards, which are from manufacturers specialised in direct food packaging. These are the main boards we use for our packaging. We also use special varnishes, where everything is sealed in to avoid migration.

The facility operates one of the most efficient printing and packaging units in the world with equipment from Heidelberg, Bobst, Kohmann and other leading names in the field.

Sustainability is one of the most important consumer trends, what initiatives have you undertaken for this market?

We understand how important sustainability is and we are working with certain manufacturers in Europe who are now producing boards, which do not have plastics.

Boards that either need to be refrigerated or require to be used in processed food are coated with plastic.

Taking sustainability into consideration, we have tied up with manufacturers in Europe to produce highly sustainable boards that are easily recyclable and repurposable.

We have already launched the product in the UAE market and shown it to many brand owners and hopefully this packaging will be seen in the UAE market very soon. We are very conscious of the environment and we use products that are FSC certified by companies that are very particular about not causing ozone depletion or migration.

Inks normally go into the board and into the food, so we use a very sophisticated ink called no migration ink, and also low migration varnishes to protect the consumer, and the environment.

What are your future plans?

We have plans to expand into other important markets and wish to gain a toehold into the pharmaceutical and tobacco segments, for which we are sourcing different kinds of machinery. We plan to enter the label and cup-making segment as well.

— As told to Krita Coelho