Mumbai / IN. (bi) Britannia Industries Limited, one of India´s largest food companies, has expanded its UAE operations by taking a 70 percent stake in Strategic Foods International Co. Ltd. (SFIC), one of the largest biscuit and wafer manufacturing companies in the GCC. The investment is part of the organisation´s campaign to capture a lion´s share of the UAE´s biscuit market worth an estimated 500 million AED a year, and which also consumes around 30’000 tonnes of product annually.
The ambitious growth strategy from the biscuit and wafer giant, which generates annual revenue in excess of 2,57 billion AED, is underpinned by a relaunch of SFIC´s Nutro label after an investment of four million AED. Research commissioned by Britannia Industries revealed that Nutro products, especially Nutro Family Choice Wafers and Nutro Glucose products, being the brand´s most favoured among shoppers.
«The UAE and wider GCC countries are extremely important markets for us», said Vinita Bali, Managing Director at Britannia Industries. «Our investment of over 75 million AED in the region in the two years since we’ve expanded here shows our commitment and dedication. UAE is particularly significant for us given the progress it has enjoyed in the last decade and considering it is home territory for SFIC».
The UAE would appear to offer fertile ground for Britannia´s expansion programme where biscuit and wafer consumption is high. The country´s population of around five million is responsible for eating its way through six kilograms of biscuits and wafers per capita each year, and it contributes 20 percent by value and 17 percent by volume to the total consumption in the GCC.
In total, 50 of the Nutro label´s products have had their recipes and presentation revitalised, with point-of-sale pricing remaining unchanged. Packaging for all of the new Nutro lines has been designed by internationally acclaimed branded packaging specialist Jane Thorn, considered to be one of the foremost design experts in her field.
The current market conditions would appear to warrant significant consideration with Britannia´s new venture, but Vinita Bali, Managing Director of Britannia Industries was keen to explain why her organisation was investing heavily in a new campaign being actioned during a down-swing in the global economy. «Research has shown that it is when the economy experiences a recession that consumers change their habits», she said. «This is a perfect opportunity for us, as the products we retail are everyday consumable items and offer the best value for money. This is the ideal time to invest in the brand and generate brand loyalty in the long run», she added.
The relaunch of the Nutro label has involved increasing the output of the organisation´s Oman´s Sohar plant, where Nutro products are manufactured. This has resulted in more staff being employed to meet the accelerated demand for output and the 30’000 square metre plant now has a production capacity of over 2’000 tonnes of biscuits and wafers per month, an increase of more than 550 percent since the upgrades were implemented. The facility exports products to over more than 50 countries.
«We are extremely pleased to introduce our improved Nutro product line to the UAE market», added Arvind Kumar, CEO, SFIC. «I sincerely believe we have the best products in the sector at a value price point that will be very popular across a broad section of the community», he concluded.