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Spinneys enters world of e-commerce

Spinneys Dubai has launched an online grocery delivery service in response to strong demand from customers. CEO Sunil Kumar said: “Demand for home grocery deliveries has never been higher. Launched amidst the economic challenges caused by Covid-19, our new service will offer our customers an efficient, convenient and safe way to shop for their groceries. Stepping into the world of e-commerce strengthens our ability to further support our communities and continue to provide our customers with the best possible products in the best possible way.”

At present, the service is limited to Spinneys customers in Dubai, but it is expected to soon expand to Abu Dhabi. There will also be a Spinneys app available for download in the coming weeks.

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Spinneys, the Dubai retailer that never compromises on quality 

Spinneys, the Dubai retailer that never compromises on quality 

Ethnic mixture of consumers, tough competition, high demand for organic produce, and distaste for plastic packaging are the challenges and opportunities for the retailer.

Spinneys Dubai operates 50 Spinney’s supermarkets and eight Waitrose stores. Its story started in 1961, with its first supermarket opening in 1962. Nowadays, Spinneys enjoys a well-deserved reputation for being forward-thinking and keeping pace with the changes in eating trends by offering new products from around the world. Food standards, safety and freshness have always been at the forefront of the company’s ethos. “We don’t compromise on quality; our objective is to give customers the best shopping experience,” said Stephen Rudge, commercial manager for fresh produce. “That explains why we are moving ever more toward growers and direct import. We buy around 80% of our goods directly from growers and the countries of origin.” As well as supporting local food producers within the UAE, the company has developed an enviably comprehensive network of reputable suppliers around the world. The retailer has sourcing teams located in different countries: the US, Australia, the UK and South Africa. “Our ambition is to establish closer relationships with growers, while closely following new varieties and new developments to understand what’s coming onto the markets,” said Rudge. “When we can, we want to be the first ones on the market.” 

Variety choice, a key issue

Spinneys puts great stock in selling a varied range of products. For instance, it offers very distinctive grape varieties like Cotton Candy, which has sold extremely well following in-store tastings. There are sampling stations at all of Spinneys’ large stores, with each week customers having the chance to try a new variety or product, or a product from a new country of origin. The same is true with berries. There have been numerous breeding programmes over last 15 years and more new materials have come onto the market. But the difference between good berries and bad berries is huge in terms of flavour, sweetness, texture, and shelf life. “We talk to the growers and we choose the best varieties. After each season, we discuss the results with producers, and include the successful varieties in our following season’s programme,” said Rudge. 

Competent marketing and promotion boost sales 

The UAE contains a wide spectrum of consumers among its 10 million population, and Spinneys has a particularly strong European, Emirati and Asian customer base. “We have such a mix of customers, and we take into consideration the tastes of all of them,” said Rudge. “We also offer ready-to-eat formats, such as peeled pomelo cut into individual segments. Pomelo is a fabulous product!” Spinneys has two formats of ready-to-eat products: one consists of pre-packed fruit, and the other of ready-prepared salads in the deli section, both of which have become very popular for their freshness. Spinneys widely social media extensively to promote its healthy products and participates on a morning fruit show on a Dubai radio station, which enables new products to be introduced. Indeed, following its promotion, kale has now become one of the best-sellers. 

Another feature of the Emirates is the fact that sales of organic products constitute 10% of total volume, which is much higher than in Europe where the average is 5%. The country is also committed to the war against plastic. “It is a real challenge, as suppliers cannot change their packaging in such a short time, and recycling is not well developed in the country. Spinneys will have to develop its own solution, as this is what customers are demanding,” said Rudge.

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Spinneys launches farmers’ club

The Spinneys Farmers’ Club consists of a select group of local growers who work together closely to help develop and follow sustainable farming practices.

The Spinneys Farmers’ Club consists of a select group of local growers who work together closely to help develop and follow sustainable farming practices.

They harvest and deliver their fresh produce within 24 hours with minimal travel. This helps reduce their carbon footprints by reducing food mileage and means fresher fruit and vegetables for the consumer.

For the fresh produce that they are unable to grow locally, they rely on their International Farmers’ Club.

Their buying and compliance teams regularly visit and audit these farms to ensure they meet their quality and sustainability standards.



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Modern retailers in the Gulf

Lulu Hypermarkets and Maf Carrefour continue to lead the modern retail panorama in the Gulf countries, followed by Spinneys, Choithrams, Al Maya and Abu Dhabi Coop Spar supermarkets.

Lulu Hypermarkets and Maf Carrefour continue to lead the modern retail panorama in the Gulf countries, followed by Spinneys, Choithrams, Al Maya and Abu Dhabi Coop Spar supermarkets.

Abu Dhabi: a value market of 2 million people

With 16 supermarkets in the Emirate, Abu Dhabi Coop is the main retail chain with about 30% of the modern food distribution in the Emirate, a value market of about 2 million people. Its main competitors are Lulu Supermarkets with 11 shops, followed by Carrefour with 5 hypermarkets. Since last year the chain has renewed the design of its stores, along with a more dynamic commercial strategy of attractive quality and prices. A larger product assortment and quality range of products is also offered. Food security is also guaranteed, since its suppliers are required to be GlobalGAP and ISO certified. The entire supply of fruit and vegetables is organized by the import subsidiary of the Kaf Group to which the chain also belongs. Imported vegetables make up about half of the supplies in winter and almost 100% in summer. After an outstanding advance of nearly 50% last year, sales are also progressing in 2016 despite the lower petrol prices. Among the growing product categories are value-added healthy varieties like blueberries and kale, as well as seedless mandarins and watermelons, tastier cantaloupe melons, coloured capsicums and also speciality leafs like spinach and rocket.

Spinneys’ multiple strategy of sustainable sourcing

The first and only retail member of Global G.A.P. since 2015, Spinneys has been developing a strategy of sustainable sourcing with its fruit and vegetable suppliers. This has been implemented so far through 3 different programmes: “Responsible Sourcing”, “Season’s Best” and “Spinneys Club”. With the “Responsible Sourcing” programme, Spinneys raises its suppliers’ profiles, selected according to their certifications for G.A.P. practices and their degree of social and environmental responsibilities. The “Season’s Best” programme consists of promoting the most seasonal items every month, selected for their optimum eating qualities and attractive prices. One preferred produce supplier is chosen and their profile promoted at the point of sale. Started in January, 2016, the “Season’s Best” campaign has already promoted a South African stone fruit producer called Stems from Cape Town, as well as Stemilt Growers’ American apples from Washington. In April, 2015, the “Spinneys Club” was also created, with a high selection of 3 organic and 4 conventional growers so far. Their products are packed and sold under the “Spinneys Club” label with products of superior selection and specialities. These include renowned Spanish growers of seedless grapes and stone fruit such as Moyca and Royal. “We also aim to improve our logistics performance,” says Martine Aguirre, head of produce sourcing at Spinneys. A global partnership has been established with Hellemans Logistics for customized air and sea logistics. Today, the chain has 57 Spinneys stores in the UAE and 8 premium “Waitrose” joint ventures, as well as 8 stores in Oman. After 3 new store openings in 2015, the chain is slowing down its expansion due to lower petrol prices, which are affecting consumers’ behaviour.

The widest selection & best value with 65 hypermarkets and 65 supermarkets

Carrefour hypermarkets are the industry leaders in product selection and price guarantees in the Gulf countries, while the supermarkets are smaller in scale but still offer a great variety of products that cater to the everyday needs of the surrounding community. Over the last 20 years, this brand has grown from strength to strength in the region, and at Majid Al Futtaim they are committed to growing it even further. As part of the Majid Al Futtaim retail offering, Carrefour currently operates over 65 hypermarkets, over 85 supermarkets, and an online store in 12 countries across the MENA region. It will soon also expand to include 38 countries in the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa and Russia, where they hold the exclusive rights to the value-packed Carrefour franchise. Founded in France, Carrefour is one of the largest hypermarket chains in the world, and one of the most popular hypermarkets in the region. The brand ensures customer satisfaction and convenience while offering unbeatable value for money with a vast array of more than 100,000 products from home electronics and clothing to fresh fruit from around the world and locally produced items.

Al Bakrawe develops new international markets

Ammar Al Bakri, CEO of Al Bakrawe, confirms the group’s market developments in the Arabic world and Northern Africa. Al Bakrawe Group pioneered the art of importing fresh produce into the UAE and is now one of the leading fresh produce importers and exporters within the Middle East with over 3,000 containers of fresh produce every year, bringing famous brands from all over the world and making sure fresh produce is never out of season. “With a huge fleet of over 200 refrigerated trucks equipped with the latest refrigerating technology and operating 24 h, at Al Bakrawe our promise is to deliver freshness wherever the destination,” says Al Bakri. Al Bakrawe Group sources from a long list of countries around the globe: the USA, Australia, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Italy, Spain, France, China, the Philippines, India and Pakistan as well as Egypt, Morocco, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. Al Bakrawe Group is a UAE-based company located in the heart of the Dubai Central Fruit and Vegetable Market (Al Aweer, Dubai). It runs 2 of its own cold stores with a capacity for 70 containers. It was established by Ammar Ali Bakri, who started his business earlier in Dubai in 1996 with fresh fruit and vegetable transport, handling, logistics and distribution. Al Bakrawe Group has quickly grown into one of the UAE’s largest and most innovative fresh produce providers. It is constantly awarded by the Dubai municipality for its commercial performance and compliance with food safety standards.

These articles appeared in the Mediterranean & Middle East Special Report on pages 38-40 of issue 142 of Eurofresh Distribution magazine. Read more of that edition online here.


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Rush of investment in Egypt’s retail sector

There’s a significant surge of investment in Egypt’s retail sector as the shopping habits of the country’s consumers’ increasingly move towards modern retail.

The shopping habits of Egyptian consumers are increasingly shifting towards the modern retail sector, resulting in a significant surge of investment in this sector, reports the USDA.

In its report ‘Nile Nuggets for January 2016’, it says the Al-Bustan Real Estate Development Company will invest LE (Egyptian pounds) 3 billion to build four new “HyperOne” branches in New Cairo, Shorouk City, Badr City and Assiut.

Also, the Fathalla Gomla Market Group will invest LE 70 million to establish a 10,000 m2 supermarket in Borg El Arab.

Furthermoe, UAE- based Spinneys is said to be “aggressively expanding” with plans to open 23 new branches in the Delta and Upper Egypt governorates in the next two years with a total investment of LE 5 billion. [$1 = 7.83 LE]

According to the report, the company currently owns six branches in Cairo, the Red Sea, and Qena and retail manager Mahmoud Meawad has stated that Spinney’s has the goal of achieving 35% market share in Egypt’s retail market.

Source: USDA, Nile Nuggets for January 2016
Image by: Alma E. Guinness [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons 

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Spinneys, the Premier Supermarket Retailer in the Middle East, Joins GLOBALG.A.P. as a Member

Spinneys, the Premier Supermarket Retailer in the Middle East, Joins GLOBALG.A.P. as a Member.

Fine Fare Food Market LLC, which operates Spinneys, the premium supermarket retailer in the Middle East, has become the first in the region to join GLOBALG.A.P. as a retail member. This is in line with the company’s strategic decision to support a sustainable sourcing policy in order to benefit their farming partners, the environment, and their customers.

The company operates hypermarkets and supermarkets in Qatar, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and, through a franchise agreement, 30 stores in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). GLOBALG.A.P. Membership confirms the company’s commitment to supporting initiatives that assure sustainable and safe products for consumers.

By December 2015, Spinneys UAE plans to import only GLOBALG.A.P. certified fruits and vegetables from South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Kenya, and Europe. In 2016, the retailer will expand its sourcing policy and work with producers from other countries, including Sri Lanka, Australia and USA, to help them achieve GLOBALG.A.P. Certification.

“We welcome Spinneys as a member in our GLOBALG.A.P. Community,” said Kristian Moeller, CEO of GLOBALG.A.P. “This move will make GLOBALG.A.P. certified produce available also to consumers in the Middle East ‎and opens up a very interesting market for certified producers.”

First established in 1924 by Arthur Spinneys in the suburbs of Alexandria Egypt, Spinneys sold high quality fresh produce, grocery, and baked goods at a fair price and in a fresh and friendly shopping environment. By 1960, it had grown into a chain and succeeded in opening additional retail outlets in Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan and supplying food for petrol exploration teams across the Gulf region.

Spinneys opened its doors in Lebanon’s old Beirut Souks in 1948, followed by additional stores in various parts of the country in the 1970s, but unfortunately the stores closed due to the civil war at that time. Thirty years later, Spinneys pioneered the concept of a hypermarket in Lebanon and re-opened its doors in 1998 through one big store and seven other standalone outlets, in addition to regional expansion in the Middle East.

Spinneys was ranked one of the world’s 50 best grocers by UK based retail magazine The Grocer in 2013.

source: GLOBALG.A.P. media release