Foodco working with Ollen Group on growth strategy and execution

07 June 2022 4 min. read

Abu Dhabi based Foodco National Foodstuff is working on a strategic transformation program focused on growth and an enhanced product-to-market fit, collaborating with consultants, designers and technologists from Ollen Group.

Founded in 1979 by an Emiri Decree under the patronage of the Crown Prince H. H. Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foodco National Foodstuff is today one of the larger fast moving consumer goods companies in the UAE.

With a product assortment spanning product categories such as rice, oils, tuna, pasta, sauces, saffron, and frozen chicken, among others, Foodco National Foodstuff caters to the needs of thousands of consumers in the MENA region through different channels including mainly supermarkets and hypermarkets. Some of Foodco’s more well-known brands are Shehrazade, Al Safwa, and Virginia.

Foodco National Foodstuff

Facing a rapidly changing landscape as a result of the Covid-19-induced disruption to consumer preferences, Foodco National Foodstuff last year decided to recalibrate its product strategy. To support this process, the listed company selected Ollen Group, a consulting firm serving mainly the Middle East and Africa region, as its strategic partner.

The engagement started with in-depth consumer and market studies to identify what is important to consumers, what are they looking for, what visually attracts them, and what is required for them to make a purchase decision.

This led to a number of key objectives in the new strategy: offering more personalisation, more information about the products and their origin, more channels to purchase the products, and better value, while still providing consistent quality, availability, and pricing.

Working with Ollen Group, Foodco National Foodstuff uplifted the brand identity, revisited product offerings, value proposition and unique selling points, redesigned and innovated the packaging of the products to improve quality, product positioning and tiering, and developed web and mobile applications to offer wider product baskets and reach a wider consumer base.

UAE’s Foodco and Ollen Group

Reflecting on the transformation, April Lincoln, a Partner at Ollen Group, said: “As consumer profiles and behaviours change or evolve, brands and propositions are susceptible to become irrelevant or mismatched from their intended original audience, hence companies have to revisit and adapt their brand architecture.”

“In doing so, they should make sure that brands under their umbrella align with consumer needs, and ensure what they are selling, how they are communicating and how they are representing themselves connect with consumers emotions, needs and preferences.”

“At Foodco National Foodstuff, the most important aspect was not only to look at elements of the value proposition and products that had to be changed in order to reconnect with the existing audience, but also to attract a wider base of consumers by conveying the Foodco story, legacy and authenticity through the brand, communication, packaging and why they are purchasing this particular brand or range in the first place.”

Commenting on the program, Mohammad Al Hosani, Chairman of Foodco National Foodstuff, said: “For more than 40 years, we’ve been continuously evolving and innovating to serve the region with our products and services. We are keen on continuing this legacy for the foreseeable future focusing on investing in achieving national food security goals and aligning with the national sustainability agenda.”

Waseem Al Halabi, General Manager of Foodco, added: “We are continuously looking for opportunities to offer a wider basket of top-quality products and cater for different consumer preferences.”

Reaping the fruits from the program, Foodco won an award for its efforts – bagging the UAE’s Choice of the Year award in the consumer goods rice category, with the jury lauding its excellence in brand awareness and product innovation.

Foodco National Foodstuff wins award

Eyeing further growth

Building on its heritage and successful positioning, Foodco National Foodstuff is eyeing further growth. Al Halabi: “Our growth strategy for the foreseeable future includes a mix of organic growth within our portfolio categories and products, as well as possible acquisition of high potential brands and products.”

Ollen Group – which last week was named among the Middle East’s leading consultancies for food & beverage and retail – also served as the advisor to this process, helping the consumer goods player with developing its renewed growth strategy and the roadmap. The consultants are still on board in support of the execution phase.