Frozen food sector in Gulf to grow 10%

Sheikh Majed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Arts and Culture Authority, right, visits Gulfood 2009. (MOHAMMED HISHAM) 

Frozen food sector in the reagion is expected to grow by 10 per cent this year with regional brands offering high-quality products at competitive prices compared to global firms.

"We do not have the real effect of recession on our production activities and the business is as usual. We expect a steady 10 per cent growth this year," said Ajit Pillai, General Manager of Al Kabeer Group of Companies.

"Locally-based companies with value-added products have been positioning themselves in the region, including the UAE, over the past decade. They have the advantage when it comes to production. They offer fresher food in less cost," he said.

"However, we cannot ignore the financial crisis, which has effect on our operations and we really had to cut our profitability margins. In late 2007, we were getting beef for $2,900 per tonne. In 2008, prices went up to $4,000 per tonne. Now prices have gone down to $3,200," said Pillai.

Such circumstances and market factors are forcing consumers "just to be more cautious when it comes to spending even on food," added Pillai. Al Kabeer produces an average of 900 tonnes of a variety of frozen food products per month. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are Al Kabeer's biggest markets in the region.

"All lines of food production sector is expected to develop. Our challenge is to get the product at the right price, without compromising quality," added Pillai.

 

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