Gulfood attracts some of the biggest global and regional brands, food futurists and experts in the business

"Higher demand is expected in Quick Commerce in the next 2-3 years”

Rajiv Warrier, CEO, Choithrams

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E-commerce is a rapidly growing vertical for Choithrams, how do you see trends in the space shaping the brand’s fortunes over the next 2-3 years?

E-commerce has become an integral part of our supermarket operations. Customers continue to shop with us through multiple channels, by frequenting our stores for their monthly shopping objectives and their mid-week top ups or last minute shopping requirements through online shopping channels. Choithrams serves these various shopping requirements through its multiple channels, online and offline. is likely the earliest online grocery platform in the UAE. We also have partnerships with all leading marketplaces. We have launched Dark stores for quick deliveries in partnership with Deliveroo HOP. In the next 2-3 years we expect a higher demand in the Quick Commerce space and consolidation of marketplaces.

How do you see the supermarket business evolving here in the UAE and ME over the next five years?

The supermarket space is getting crowded and competitive. However, there is still potential to add stores by differentiating on our service and assortment. Supermarkets can no longer depend on being just a brick and mortar retailer and must adopt an Omni channel strategy to cater to the requirements of the customers. Quality, price and convenience will be critical factors for growth.

"Focusing on technology integration is key”

Kamal Vachani, Group Director & Partner, Al Maya Group

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What strategies has Al Maya implemented to maintain its position as the premier supermarket in Dubai?

Al Maya Group has a robust strategy in place to remain a premier UAE supermarket chain. As far as strategies are concerned for future growth, Al Maya Group is primarily focused on a series of steps that includes product diversification, customer service and loyalty, technology integration, expansion at strategic locations, sustainability initiatives, competitive pricing and supply chain optimisation.

In what ways does Al Maya cater to the diverse needs and preferences of its customer base in Dubai?

Over the years Al Maya Group has developed a deep understanding of the requirements of its loyal customer base. There is a diverse consumer base of over 200 nationalities, which calls the UAE home. In order to satisfy their diverse needs and preferences, Al Maya Group maintains a constant communication with its customer base. Simultaneously, it remains focused on the following areas:

• Diverse product range: Al Maya offers a diverse range of products to cater to the different cultural preferences & dietary requirements. It includes international food items, specialty products , organic & health-conscious options.

• Ease of shopping: To cater to changing consumer habits, Al Maya Supermarkets has tied up with several online service providers, remains open 24x7, and in addition offers free delivery of goods to its customers.

• Promotions and discounts: Regular promotions, discounts and rewarding to loyal customers are instrumental in retaining the large customer base.

"We are modernising production values through an omni-channel experience”

Dr Dhananjay Datar, Chairman & MD, Adil Group of Supermarkets & Flour Mills

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How is Adil sustaining and building on the growing demand for organic Indian produce here in the UAE?

Adil offers one of the largest ranges of organic items in the UAE, organic pulses, basic whole and powdered spices, rice, sugar, oils, ghee, millets, juices, jaggery and with plans to introduce new offerings to our customers.

What are the technological innovations that are being implemented by the Adil Group?

Adil Group is modernising production values through providing an omni-channel experience to all of its customers, our long awaited app is soon going to be released which will allow our customers more convenient access. Strong partnerships with e-commerce and delivery platforms such as Talabat, Noon, Careem, elGrocer, Now now etc. further enhance accessibility for customers.

"Our brand is committed to building lasting relationships with suppliers and customers”

Halima Jumani, CEO, Kibsons International

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What key factors do you attribute to Kibsons International’s rise to a pre-eminent position in the fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and poultry industry in the UAE?

From our establishment over three decades ago, Kibsons International has grown to occupy a pre-eminent position in the fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and poultry industry in the UAE.

Our unwavering commitment to building lasting relationships with suppliers and customers is why we enjoy a global reputation of integrity and trust with a vast network of more than 600 suppliers and customers.

Today the Kibsons community is made up of more than 1,500 employees who share a passion for service and quality. Our operations across our multiple sales points, cold store facilities, meat processing factory and refrigerated distribution fleet are all HACCP certified and supported by state-of-the-art equipment and technology.

How does Kibsons International maintain high standards of quality and freshness in its products, and what sets it apart from competitors in the market?

By working closely with producers to understand the optimum times of supply and varieties, to maintaining our cold chain facility, we ensure consistently high standards of quality and freshness that sets up apart from our competitors in the market.

Our cold chain facility spans over 80,000sq. ft. and is equipped with modern loading and unloading bays with dock shelters to prevent any breakage in our cold chain. This allows our produce to remain fresh with optimum quality maintained during all inbound and outbound processes.

One of the most modern, sophisticated facilities in the UAE, our facility is further equipped with racking systems, production equipment and advanced mobile communication technology. This facilitates the optimum use of our Warehouse Management System (WMS) that has been developed specifically for Kibsons’ requirements.

In an exclusive chat, Megat Iskandar, Trade Commissioner of Malaysia to the UAE explains why the world is increasingly accepting Malaysian food products

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What are the main food products exported to the UAE by Malaysia?

Malaysia’s exports of processed food to the UAE has been steadily increasing, indicating the increasing acceptance of Malaysia’s food products in overseas market. In 2023, food exports to UAE reached Dh460.4 million contributed mainly by products such as cocoa and cocoa preparations, prepared cereals and flour preparations, processed seafood and dairy products. Malaysian companies are actively promoting health and wellness by adding nutritious, meat-free, gluten-free and vegan food to our growing range of products.

How is Malaysia pushing the agenda on organic produce and how is this going to reflect at Gulfood?

Malaysia is moving towards organic farming. Besides organic products, health foods include low caloric, fibre/nutrient enriched products, fruit juices and herbal products. New products using Malaysia’s traditional herbs and resources are continuously being developed for global markets. Today’s consumers seek convenience, variety, and healthier options. To meet these changing demands, Malaysian companies are encouraged to stay abreast of consumer trends and prioritise customer feedback.

I am also proud to add that Malaysian companies are increasingly committed to environmental sustainability by adopting eco-friendly practices in the production process. For example, our palm oil products comply with The Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil Certification Scheme (MSPO). It ensures the supply-chain traceability for safety and sustainability. This should definitely help in addressing growing concern in the Middle East and worldwide about climate change and environmental impact.