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Unikai spearheads massive ME investments
By William Faria March 14, 2017
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DUBAI: One of Middle East oldest and most diversified FMCG conglomerates in the packaged food and beverage arena, UNIKAI plans to massively invest over the next three years by replacing its existing production lines with faster and higher-capacity ones.

To keep up with the constantly changing consumer demands, the company has already injected close to Dhs1 million in a new Research &Development (R&D) facility. Researchers will use the latest food industry trends, such as the buzz around the health benefits of dark chocolate or the preference for healthier yoghurt variants, to improve the company’s products.

“In FMCG, it is imperative to regularly revitalise designs in keeping with the latest trends. Following extensive market research, we saw a tremendous opportunity in diversifying our product portfolio while redesigning the packaging across our product lines,” says Neeraj Vohra, CEO of UNIKAI, while addressing the company’s ongoing portfolio rebranding, which commenced in September 2015 and is now 70 per cent complete.

Vohra added: “We believe that our 40-year tradition as a UAE brand combined with our growth plans that seek to double our distribution network across the UAE and Oman in the next three years are our biggest strengths in the upcoming phase. We have strong brand recall among Emiratis, as they have grown up enjoying our products. Building on that heritage, we seek to bring a sense of freshness to our portfolio that younger generations can relate to.”

The company recently signed a partnership agreement with Al Douri Foods during a soft relaunch of its Royal Treat premium ice cream range.

Al Douri Foods has added the nuts category to UNIKAI’s food portfolio under the Delite brand. The company also received a halal certification during the just concluded Gulfood 2017 exhibition.

Vohra disclosed that after spending more than Dhs10 million on business improvements in 2016, UNIKAI has committed to quadrupling its investments into enhancing its distribution network as well as upgrading its production lines and infrastructure this year.

The soft relaunch of Royal Treat marked UNIKAI’s foray into the premium ice cream category.

“Capitalising on our success in the mass ice cream segment across the region, we aim to gain market share in the premium ice cream segment, competing head-to-head with global players. Relaunched with a heavy investment, the product will hit the shelves this summer,” explained Vohra.

Further adding value across the portfolio, research on flavour injections and innovations in the recipe makeup will enhance UNIKAI’s current recipes while retaining the original taste and quality of old favourites.

“With almost four decades of catering to the tastes of the GCC market to its credit, UNIKAI is one of the region’s most popular FMCG brands.”

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