Most UAE importers are reporting good sales growth this season and returning to pre-pandemic levels or above. Nevertheless, inflated logistics costs are cutting into profits. The last two years have provided opportunities for making strategic investments in production and logistics or for forming new partnerships. For others, the pandemic has led to overdue restructuring. “We are increasing our footprint in both the production and distribution channels,” said Manish Bucha, new chief operating officer (COO) of Mirak Group, which provides a good example of a winning strategy. Mirak has been investing in direct production in the UAE and other Middle Eastern countries for the long term. Another good example of a successful strategy is the forming of Elite Agro, a wholesaler and importer at the Al Aweer Market. Based in Abu Dhabi, Elite Agro is the largest producer of vegetables in the UAE. The Al Aweer Market will soon be opening an extensive air-conditioned retail building with multiple sections and optimum cold-chain and retail facilities.
Ali Gholami opens new distribution centre
Inaugurated in March 2021, the new distribution centre of Ali Gholami Vegetables & Fruits at Dubai’s Al Aweer Market has helped increase both overseas supplies and local distribution. The company now imports directly from a diverse range of countries. Ali Gholami supplies directly to ship charterers (e.g. cruise liners), the hospitality industry (e.g. B&S, Safco) and 5-7-star hotel chains (e.g. Hilton, Abu Dhabi National Hotel Group, Ritz-Carlton, Sofitel, Meridien, Sheraton, Radisson, Adress). Ali Gholami also re-exports to the Maldives, Seychelles and other GCC countries. It has a fleet of over 200 trucks for distribution and employs more than 500 workers.
Barakat Group strengthens position in every channel
CEO Kenneth D’Costa reports that sales have been growing again in all distribution channels since establishments fully reopened. Barakat also continues to grow in e-commerce, with sales through its own platform dedicated to fresh produce and via the main e-commerce platforms operating in the UAE (e.g. Amazon, Moon and Talabat). The group has recently refurbished its wholesale shop at the Al Aweer Market. Barakat also supplies the major food-service operators as category managers. The firm also cooperates closely with the country’s food safety authority and the +900 affiliated farmers of the SILAL farm service centre in Abu Dhabi. Barakat works with over 50 farmer partners and agritech companies from India, the Far East, Europe, Latin America, Africa and Australia. Barakat Quality Plus has established itself as the top manufacturer of ultra-fresh juices (non-pasteurised) with its constant innovations and redesigned packaging.