Hamad Abduljalil Al Blouki, CEO, Al Bustan Farms, talks about the UAE’s poultry sector and what new products his company has planned to bring to market
The UAE’s poultry sector has observed steady growth in market share over imported products from GCC and Europe in the last couple of years due to UAE’s self-sustainability and food security goals. There was also renewed focus on home-grown poultry farms, which has far less carbon footprint on the industry when compared to imported poultry products.
The Coronavirus outbreak then presented challenges all along the food value chain, but industries found ways to minimise risks.
“The pandemic forced all consumer goods industries to reevaluate their market strategies for the next couple of years,” says Hamad Abduljalil Al Blouki, CEO, Al Bustan Farms. “Consumer preferences and habits saw a drastic shift to buying from locally produced farms and organic poultry products as the pandemic has made everyone more health conscious.”
It was a huge challenge for Al Bustan Farms to meet the sudden spike in consumer demand for the locally farmed poultry product range that was mitigated by running the production line and logistics round-the-clock throughout last year to meet the demands of the local market.
Food safety is more important today than it has ever been and food processing companies are facing a lot of pressure in conducting heightened quality checks and maintaining greater authenticity and transparency.
“We immediately implemented all necessary measures outlined by the authorities for Covid-19 and routinely tested all our staff to ensure the utmost safety and quality of our products and services."
Al Bustan Farms had to put mechanisms in place to ensure safety and quality, and that too at a fast pace. “We immediately implemented all necessary measures outlined by the authorities for Covid-19 and routinely tested all our staff to ensure the utmost safety and quality of our products and services,” says Al Blouki.
Change in consumer habits
Consumers have been forced to change their habits in a post-Covid world. They had to resort to more cooking at home, more online shopping, more takeout and less money spent in restaurants. “We’ve observed a significant shift towards home-grown OVA Eggs and our local country chicken range, Balady Chicken and Balady Eggs that provide a healthy alternative for a healthy living,” says Al Blouki. “Due to the lockdown, consumers prefer to cook at home more than dining out or ordering in to mitigate the risk of contracting the Covid-19 virus. We also observed a high-demand for our Fresh Quails.”
The positive thing about the crisis is that it forced companies to innovate and bring new ideas and products to the market. So what new products do Al Bustan Farms plan to the bring to the market? “We’re excited about launching our new addition to the OVA product line; Pasteurised Egg & Egg White that is far more cost effective for the HORECA Industry (Hotels, Restaurants and Cafes),” reveals Al Blouki.