A delegation of Dubai-based Al Maya Group visited Belfast recently to meet a group of 10 local companies organised by Invest Northern Ireland office in Dubai. Al Maya group director, Kamal Vachani, who led a four-member buying team, said the group was keen to source a wide range of food and soft drinks from Ireland. Al Maya Group’s visit was part of a series of ‘meet the buyer’ missions from the UAE hosted by Invest Northern Ireland’s food team in Belfast.
“UAE is an open market with immense opportunities for Northern Ireland food and drink companies, both large and small. Al Maya Group is keen to explore opportunities in virtually every food and beverage category because our customer base is very diverse and includes a very significant grouping of expats from the UK, the rest of Europe and the US. Dubai, for example, is among the world’s most cosmopolitan centres. Our aim is to provide them with products, which they are familiar with. We already stock many of the popular European and US products,” says Vachani.
Among the food and drink products that topped the team’s agenda were cereals of all types, dried fruits and nuts, bakery, sauces, soft drinks especially fruit juices and frozen pork. Al Maya Group, which operates a network of 40 supermarkets also included a senior representative from its UK business responsible for consolidating and shipping products regularly to Dubai for Al Maya stores, a fast service that makes it easier and cost-effective for Northern Ireland companies to service the huge and very diverse UAE marketplace.