B2B, B2C, B2B2C, D2C… as much as they look like a strange combination of alphabets, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers have been dabbling with these business models to figure out what is the best way for their products to reach its customers is. Transitioning business models have also been a common theme, where manufacturers have realised the many benefits of selling directly to consumers, and have adopted a hybrid model of product distribution. Some obvious benefits include instant feedback, higher profit margins, the ability to control the way products interact with the audience and the ability to offer their full range to customers and not just products cherry-picked by a third- party retailers. With these benefits in mind and in a bid to keep up with the changing retail landscape, brands and manufacturers often find themselves needing to re-focus their approach and transition from B2B to B2C which is by no means an easy feat.
Al Bayader started their journey in 1991 in Dubai as the UAE’s sustainable and innovative manufacturer and supplier of food packaging products and cleaning solutions for diverse uses. It currently owns and operates six manufacturing and nine logistics locations with a current production capacity of over 31,000 tonnes per annum covering more than 1,700 products. Having 15 industrial and logistics locations, they lead several GCC markets with a substantial market share, while steadily increasing penetration into markets further afield, including Europe and Africa. With a significant investment of AED200 million across its industrial and retail expansion programme, Al Bayader International has opened its flagship retail outlet in Dubai on Sheikh Zayed Road near the Oasis Mall. This complements the larger expansion plan of the group for 2021 to open more retail outlets across the UAE as well as grow its business footprint to Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The Sheikh Zayed Road retail shop is the fourth retail outlet of the company in the UAE, following three successful retail operations in Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah and Al Ain. Imminent openings include in Ajman, Fujairah and a second outlet in Abu Dhabi.
The expansion also underscores the company’s focus on building on its traditional model of B2B transactions to integrate a strong B2C approach. Supporting the retail expansion, Al Bayader International is also increasing its production line to meet the increasing demand for its products from across the region. “Over the years, we have consistently focused on building robust local manufacturing competencies, highlighted by our advanced production facilities in the UAE. With demand for our packaging solutions that meet all the requirements of customers, we see a strong potential to build a retail supply chain. The new showroom in Dubai reflects our ambition to be the market leader in food packaging retailing, while continuing to deliver exceptional value for our B2B customers”, said Nidal Haddad, Founder and CEO of Al Bayader International.
Designed to meet the needs of the food service industry, its diverse clientele extends from hotels and casual dining operations to restaurant chains, coffee shops, catering companies, fast-food chains and other operators. “In the beginning we were just a company of B2B at its core and then in early 2000 we expanded ourselves to B2C. One of the biggest things to consider as you transition into a B2C offering is ensuring that your brand is able to cope with the volume of interactions and that they are able to manage them and deliver an exceptional customer experience that positively represents your brand from one touchpoint to the next,” he said. “People, process, and technology are critical success factors in the B2B to B2C shift which manufacturers and distributors must consider. “When it comes to B2B to B2C, the question isn’t whether it will take hold of your business, but rather when and how. We had to assess our current infrastructure, give our recommendations on how to move forward, and implement the people, process, and technology needed to successfully make the shift,” he added.
Investing in the new showroom also reflects the company’s commitment to catalyse economic activity following the pandemic. “We believe it is our social responsibility to invest further in the economy, create new jobs and support our local suppliers of raw materials. The pandemic has transformed consumption patterns, and we have seen a remarkable increase in the demand for food packaging solutions, especially in the HORECA sector and from supermarket chains. We will continue to focus on innovating products that meet the requirements of our customers.” One of the biggest and most specialised outlets, the Al Bayader International showroom on Sheikh Zayed Road, showcases more than 1,700 types of products, suited for any need and occasion – from picnics to BBQ gatherings, birthday parties and more, under the brand FUN®. The FUN range was specifically developed by Al Bayader International in 1996 to prove that disposable products do not necessarily have to be bland and boring. It filled a gap in the consumer market with products of superior quality, vibrant colours and with sleek finishing.
“Our 2025 vision is to have about 15 shops in the UAE, Qatar and Oman. The shops do not only reach customers directly. The company has launched a website called [email protected] in UAE and Qatar,” he said. The retail sector in the region is changing drastically from supply chain to operations to consumer behaviour. Going B2C is a big shift in mindset and affects all aspects of the business. It requires marketplace and channel participation and an understanding of the gaps in the market. Businesses need to ask, ‘what are the best ways to fill the gaps while still ensuring a quick time to value?’
“Transitioning to retail has enhanced our understanding of what the market needs directly with the consumer. Secondly we are offering a one-stop-shop directly to the consumer. Sometimes we have local families going to the desert for a barbecue. They come with their cars directly to our shops to purchase everything required for the barbecue – charcoal, umbrella, chairs, packaging containers, sanitizer, tissues etc. So we understood how this kind of experience is necessary in the market. Not only barbecue, but we also cater for events of our customers like birthdays, Ramadan, festivals, dinner parties – we have a collection of products for each of these events,” he said.
Al Bayader International family has grown in number across the GCC to become an international leader in manufacturing and supplying comprehensive food packaging solutions. With a dedicated team of around 900 employees and the support of over 400 business partners, 9000 business customers and millions of consumers, they deliver added value to the global food and beverage industries and offer an extensive 3000+ product portfolio, which represents the backbone of retail and foodservice sectors.
Al Bayader keeps sustainability at the core of its business and has undertaken initiatives such as its solar farm and a botanical garden that uses waste and compost from its factories. The Botanical Garden in Jebel Ali has over 20 types of plants and 240+ trees, native to the Mediterranean region, which is irrigated using treated sewage water. The garden offsets 2.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.
It also recently inaugurated the country’s first and largest solar rooftop within the food packaging sector at its manufacturing plant in Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA). “The company’s manufacturing processes in Jebel Ali are also zero waste – all industrial scrap produced during production is recycled and reused in production. The group adds recycled bottle flakes in its production from local suppliers, ensuring it contributes to recycling local waste, in addition to having an eco-bayader Products Programme which further encourages consumers to embrace sustainability”, stated Nidal.
The new plant in Jafza South also complements the UAE’s industrial strategy to create an expanded portfolio of ‘Made in UAE’ products that can be exported to several European, Asian, South American and African nations. The expansion of Al Bayader International’s Jebel Ali factory is also an important step towards contributing to the UAE’s overall food security ecosystem, as well as the newly launched industrial strategy ‘Operation 300bn’ led by the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology and aims to enhance the industrial sector in the coming years. “With the agriculture and food systems contributing over a third of the global greenhouse gas emissions, it is important that the F&B sector takes timely measures to be environmentally conscious. Over the years, through our significant investments in localised manufacturing of food packaging products and solutions, we have gained strong capabilities in delivering private labels end-to-end solutions – from design and concept to delivering sustainable packaging. We will share this expertise with the HORECA sector to partner with them in the journey of the nation to become more sustainable across all sectors,” he added.
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