When Al Bayader International introduced its new range of food packaging products from its $20 million manufacturing facility in Jebel Ali, including its indigenously developed pastripac line for the pastry and confectionery industry, crystal clear PET containers and multipurpose PET cups with double-action lids last year, it signalled a new phase of growth for the Sharjah-based food packaging company.
“We already have the largest product range of any company in the Middle East serving the needs of more than 350 retailers in over 615 stores across the GCC region and we are confident of achieving the target we have set for ourselves over the next five years,” says vice chairman and general manager Firas Haddad.
That ambitious target, which takes into account current economic conditions and potential for market growth, is to treble turnover of the company’s Fun range of single-use table-ware and kitchen-ware products in this short span of time, which comes on the back of a doubling of turnover in the five years just gone by.
“We have invested substantially in our industrial, logistics and marketing strategies over the years to enhance our expertise and capabilities so we can serve the market better,” says Haddad.
“Our Fun range of disposable containers has been experiencing healthy year-on-year growth as consumers become increasingly cost and convenience conscious. So we hope to capture a substantial share of the mass grocery retail sector in the UAE, or MGR as it is known, by 2017, which includes grocery stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets,” he points out.
“We are already a clear leader in the hypermarkets segment, with an impressive 90% market share in the UAE, Qatar and Oman, 50% share in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain and a respectable 15-20% share in other Arab countries,” Haddad adds.
Al Bayader developed the Fun range in 1996. “Today, Fun is undoubtedly the region’s biggest brand with the most comprehensive range of colourful, creative and consumer-friendly single-use table-ware and kitchen-ware products,” Haddad claims.
“We developed this diverse range to prove that disposable products need not necessarily be bland and boring. Our in-depth market studies of the retail sector showed there was a gap in the consumer market. So, we forged strong relationships with our retail partners, integrating their constraints and factoring in their demands and market trends, to portray a powerful ‘Fun’ image on their shelves with tailor-made products in vibrant colours with sleek finishing and superior quality,” he says.
“Fun products are designed to be seen on the shelves, which is where the magic works,” he points out, adding, “"The current market trend is clear plastic containers or cups as many studies have shown there is a very positive impact on food sales when food is kept in a transparent container.”
The Fun range includes products for every need and occasion – containers, bags, trays and wrappers made of plastic, paper, foam, wood or aluminium to package fresh food, savouries and sweets, pastries, snacks and bakery products, fast food, and other multipurpose uses; disposable table-ware such as plastic and wooden cutlery; bakery moulds; and decoration accessories.
The company plans to put all the 465 products it manufactures itself (in a total portfolio of over 1000 products) into a single easy reference Fun catalogue for its vast customer base.
In the fast-changing world of F&B retailing based on consumer preferences, Al Bayader is increasingly being asked to custom-design and produce a variety of disposable cups and containers for leading brands and outlets such as Paul’s, Carrefour, Panda, Le Marche and Emirates Flight catering.
The preferred supplier for a wide range of leading hotel and restaurant chains as well as the franchise sector, it is also a supplier to many leading international and regional airlines, including Emirates, Air Lanka, Air Arabia and Etihad. In addition, new market sectors fuelling Al Bayader’s growth include petrol service stations, convenience stores, coffee shops and cinemas.