International food and safety standards have become much more stringent in recent years and with advancements in technology, food production has become a truly global enterprise. One company to take advantage of these factors has been the Al Kabeer Group of Companies.
Founded in 1974, the group has evolved into a multiproduct business with offices, processing units and cold storages located in over 15 countries.
The organisation has specialised in manufacturing frozen food for over 40 years, investing in manufacturing units in Dubai, Sharjah, Bahrain and India, to ensure the highest possible quality by locating close to source ingredients, as the company website describes:
“For example, by carefully controlling the primary processing of fresh shrimp on the shores of Bahrain, vegetables at our farms in Hyderabad, and of meat at our unit in Mumbai, we can ensure the quality of the raw materials used in our retail products. These raw materials are converted under even stricter conditions into the various products we offer, at dedicated units located in Dubai and Sharjah in the UAE, Market Rasen in England, and most recently at Deonar in Mumbai, India.”
It is an approach which has proved successful for the business and in July 2012 news broke that Dubai Al Kabeer Group was planning to open a 50 million riyal (Dh48.9 million) plant in Saudi Arabia to capitalise on the country’s hospitality surge.
“We thought of doing it in Dubai Industrial City but then we thought we might as well do it where the market is. We would meet seasonal demand, especially during hajj and throughout the year for Umrah and supply the hotels that have come up in Makkah with ready-made heat-n-serve food,” Ahmad Khan, director of the group said at the time.
“The pilgrims usually don’t have a cooking facility and need ready-made food, so it is an opportunity to supply the three, four and five-star hotels in Makkah and Madinah.”
The facility was to be located in Jeddah and would have a 2,000 tonne production capacity, Khan added.
The report indicated that the factory was to produce Saudi-customised food products to cater to the local market and would go head-to-head with the leading frozen food sales business in Saudi Arabia: Americana.
This was not the first time that Al Kabeer had announced plans for the Saudi Arabian market and in September 2007 the company stated its plans to establish a processing plant in the Kingdom.
“Our plan for Saudi operations is due to growing demand for our products in the Kingdom and elsewhere in the region,” Ghulam Muhammad Shaikh, Managing Director of Al Kabeer Exports Ltd., commented at the time.
The plans were set to become the company’s sixth plant, with the Dubai facility at that time close to opening.
“Al Kabeer products have not only become popular among the Saudis, but also with major catering companies,” Zaid Muhammad Al-Shabibi, chairman of Al-Jufailah Corporation, the sole agent for the group’s products in the Kingdom, was quoted as saying by the Arab News.
The Sharjah plant was set up in 1982 and averages a production of over 850-900 tonnes per month.
Supply chain remains a key element of the successful operation and one who’s virtues are extolled on the company website:
“At Al Kabeer, our obsession with quality in procurement, manufacturing and distribution of frozen foods has helped establish us as a leader in the Middle East Frozen Food Industry.
“Founded over 40 years ago, the Group has evolved into a multi-dimensional,
multi-product business with offices, processing units and cold storages in over 10 countries. It takes pride in distributing a range of over 300 products to 8,000 retail outlets.
“The freshest of meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, herbs and spices are used to ensure the taste and quality which Al Kabeer symbolizes. Meat and Poultry are processed with strict adherence to Islamic rites (Shahriah). The plants are built to international standards, equipped with state of the art machinery, and are approved by the EEC, The United States Armed Forces and the Australian Quarantine Board.
“The Al Kabeer range caters to all types of palates with one thing in common – good taste! The range includes meat and poultry products, seafood products, vegetarian products and ready-to-eat meals.”