UAE-based supermarket Spinneys has launched its incubator programme for micro food and beverage (F&B) suppliers in the emirates. As part of its corporate sustainability initiative ‘Let’s Do Better Together’, the initiative aims to fast-track supermarket listings for innovative F&B businesses in a bid to support local food production and stimulate economic growth in the sector.
Committed to making sustainable choices for the future, the incubator programme is the first-of-its-kind for the region and is in line with the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy to grow local food production capability and shift away from dependence on imported food supplies. Launched amidst the economic challenges caused by COVID-19, the programme aims to boost and reward innovation amongst smaller food producers and manufacturers in the emirates by lowering barriers to supermarket entry and helping to accelerate an often-challenging path to shelf listing.
Through the incubator programme, micro F&B businesses will be given the chance to list their products at Spinneys for a year, with no start-up fees and generous payment terms. Selected brands will also receive monthly coaching sessions from Spinneys’ senior management team, as well as marketing support across its digital channels, PR and via in-store sampling. The main eligibility criterion is that the product needs to be produced or manufactured in the UAE and meet a clear consumer need.
“This incubator programme underscores our commitment to support made-in-the-UAE F&B companies in an effort to enhance the food security system, but also to help drive job creation and economic growth. It’s an opportunity to show our customers and our community how we actively invest in them. We have walked the entrepreneurial road, and built a legacy. Spinneys is an integral part of the UAE community and supporting our community is at the core of our values,” said Tom Harvey, commercial manager, Spinneys.
As the UAE races ahead to triple production of essential foods in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Spinneys says all stakeholders in the F&B industry need to be rethinking the future of food.
“COVID-19 is probably the biggest stress test the F&B industry has ever had to endure, and we are so proud of how our team at Spinneys has risen to the challenges presented. But now we need to look beyond the pandemic and facilitate innovation. As an industry, large grocery retailers don’t make it easy for the smaller F&B brands to get listed. There are high account opening fees, the ongoing listing fees, lengthy payment terms and a cumbersome registration process. All of this slows down the supply chain, stifles innovation and ultimately inhibits growth for both the supplier and grocer. Under our CSR initiative – Let’s Do Better Together – we aim to change that. Finding and investing in unique brands will help Spinneys build important local supply relationships and differentiate ourselves in an increasingly competitive market,” Harvey added.
Suppliers interested in participating will have to submit a short presentation via the Spinneys website detailing the product or concept, the business plan and the people behind the business. The incubator panel, represented by senior Spinneys’ executives, will review and shortlist potential businesses and invite those accepted to pitch virtually and answer questions in a “Dragon’s Den” style format. Nominations must be submitted by June 30, 2020.
Successfully selected businesses will then be listed in Spinneys stores for 12 months, during which time they will gain valuable commercial and marketing expertise to help scale their businesses. After 12 months, those brands will be given the opportunity to continue retailing with Spinneys, subject to achieving certain financial metrics, and can choose to retail through other distributors.