Food positive


July 26, 2023 | By Anurima Das

Food positive

The expansion of the organic food and grocery market in the UAE over the last few years can be largely attributed to two main factors, namely increased awareness about consumer health and environment. Consumers are becoming more health-conscious and aware of the potential benefits associated with choosing organic foods. Because organic produce does not contain harmful chemicals, pesticides or GMOs, it resonates with individuals seeking healthier food options for themselves and their families.

One such business resonating with the UAE audience is the Organic Foods and Café, a family run company founded in 2005 that operates supermarkets and cafés selling fresh organic and biodynamic foods, groceries, supplements, meat, dairy products, breads and household cleaning products.

In an exclusive interview with RetailME, Roy Mahan, Retail Director at Organic Foods & Café discussed how the market opportunity is huge, while highlighting the varied ways in which the brand is growing tapping on opportunities.

Sustainable ways to stay future ready

When it comes to environmental awareness, Mahan says that they have seen a significant increase in the global concern for sustainable farming and grocery practices, a trend that holds true in the UAE too.

“Organic farming has numerous environmental benefits that consumers are becoming more mindful of, and we have also seen a rise in customers’ favouring sustainable and biodegradable packaging options. Looking ahead, it is expected that the organic food and grocery market will continue its upward trajectory in the UAE. The increase in education surrounding sustainable farming practices has increased consumer awareness and demand for organic products. It is likely as a result, the market will continue to experience an increase in organic farming practices, leading to better product availability and higher consumer adoption. Greater education surrounding the benefits of eating organic produce as well as the increased ease and availability of organic items will contribute to the growth of the market,” he mentioned.

Since its inception in 2004, Organic Foods & Café has actively contributed to driving change in the organic space within the UAE. Organic Foods & Café has invested heavily into educating consumers and engaging with the community. By partnering with trusted organic farmers and vendors, the brand ensures that the products it offers are sourced using responsible practices. “Through these partnerships, we contribute to the sustainability of our food systems and the well-being of our planet for future generations,” Mahan emphasised.

Business prospects to keep inching higher

Mahan noted that compared to the global market, the organic market in the UAE is still in its early stages of development. While organic food as a category has been present in the country for a long time, the widespread adoption and availability of such products are relatively recent. Over the past few years, besides a growing awareness among consumers in the UAE regarding the benefits of organic foods, there is an increasing concern for the environment and sustainability, which has led to a greater demand for organic products that are produced using eco-friendly practices.

Talking about the future, he added, “In the coming two years, we can expect the organic domain in the UAE to continue to grow. As consumers become more aware of the benefits of purchasing organic foods for both their well-being and the environment, we are likely to witness an increase in demand for organic products. This will further drive expansion of both the organic market and the Organic Foods & Café, leading to increased availability of organic options for consumers.”

Looking forward, Organic Foods & Café has ambitious plans to expand their impact and reach within the local UAE community. The brand’s foremost goal is to continue their mission of making organic foods physically and financially accessible to all, promoting healthier lifestyles and sustainable practices.

“We aim to strengthen our partnerships with local farmers and suppliers, ensuring a consistent supply of high-quality organic produce. This will allow us to offer an even wider range of fresh and diverse organic options to our customers. Additionally, we plan to enhance our community engagement efforts by collaborating with local likeminded brands for wellness events, classes and workshops. Recognising the growing demand for convenience, we will be investing in our online presence to continue to provide a seamless and user-friendly e-commerce experience. All our efforts reflect our mission to remain dedicated to providing affordable, high-quality organic options and inspiring positive change in the way people approach food and wellness,” he commented.

Customer awareness to promote growth

Mahan mentioned that customers hold a significant role as valued stakeholders in customising and tweaking the product selection for Organic Foods & Café.

“We firmly believe that the best ideas often come from within, and that’s why we consider our customers to be an integral part of the OFC family. Their feedback and preferences play a vital role in refining our offerings and ultimately shaping the identity of our brand. As passionate and adventurous food enthusiasts, we thrive on always maintaining exciting options for our OFC customers. Our team is constantly exploring innovative and diverse organic food products, driven by a genuine love for what we do. This passion translates into a dynamic and vibrant selection that ensures our customers have access to unique and enticing choices.”

But the initial transition for customers to embrace organic products requires an investment in educating individuals about their benefits. And Organic Foods & Café has done just that through their marketing initiatives to win a loyal base.

“At the core of our brand values is the firm belief that everyone deserves access to high-quality organic produce without any additional financial burden. This commitment is reflected in our in-store prices and regular promotions, such as our monthly 20% off sale. Our future marketing efforts will continue to emphasise the affordability of organic produce. We have some exciting brand collaborations in the pipeline with like-minded partners who share our values, and we are eager to initiate these collaborations to further promote our message,” Mahan concluded.

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