Caterer Middle East - - Ingredient Focus -


Our love of cheese is never end­ing. Whether it’s a clas­sic cheese board or a trendy raclette, con­sumers want it, want it, want it. So it’s up to restaurants, and ul­ti­mately sup­pli­ers, to make sure they get it.

But what are the chal­lenges that sup­pli­ers and dis­trib­u­tors are fac­ing in the in­dus­try right now?

We asked Euse­bio Gonzalez, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor DMK MENA FZCO, whose Olden­burger brand is pop­u­lar around the world, and he said: “Pro­duc­tion flex­i­bil­ity and fast in­no­va­tion are two of our in­ter­nal goals un­der con­stant re­view and im­prove­ment. This helps us to be ready for chal­lenges like changes in trends and con­sumer di­etary pref­er­ences. We re­flect crit­i­cally on our value chain ef­fi­ciency and strive for im­prove­ment.”

Pro­duc­tion lives and dies by the sup­ply chain, which for Olden­burger be­gins in

the north of Ger­many. There, Gonzalez tells us, “DMK cows are liv­ing in a suit­able en­vi­ron­ment with green mead­ows, good cli­mate, feed­ing on lo­cal GMO free feed. High qual­ity stan­dards and lat­est tech­nolo­gies en­sure that Olden­burger prod­ucts are con­trolled at ev­ery step of the pro­duc­tion to meet con­sumer qual­ity ex­pec­ta­tions. Once packed and sealed, the prod­ucts take a jour­ney to var­i­ous coun­tries around the world.”

For­tu­nately for coun­tries like UAE it’s sim­ple to get prod­ucts from farm to fork as Rami Nader, se­nior brand man­ager, cheese and Ital­ian cat­e­gories, Green­house, ex­plains: “Sup­ply chain in the UAE is easy as the coun­try is a re­gional hub for air, sea, and land trans­porta­tion. There are daily flights com­ing from all over the world thanks to Emi­rates and Eti­had air­lines. How­ever the chal­lenge here is to main­tain the proper cold chain from the pro­duc­tion site un­til the prod­uct reaches the client.

“Green­house be­ing the leader in the in­dus­try for more than 40 years, han­dling cheeses with shelf life of 14 days on­wards, gives us an edge in sup­ply­ing the best prod­ucts in the best con­di­tions.”

The world is putting the sus­tain­abil­ity of all busi­nesses un­der the mi­cro­scope and dairy prod­ucts are no dif­fer­ent. In­deed, Gonzalez tells us that DMK are ahead of the curve when it comes to green pro­grammes, with the first be­ing started in 2013. He said: “DMK Group in­tro­duced the ‘DMK 2020 Sus­tain­abil­ity Strat­egy: Our milk. Our world.’ back in 2013. Shortly af­ter DMK launched the Milk­mas­ter pro­gramme as one of the sus­tain­abil­ity mile­stones. Top­ics such as an­i­mal wel­fare and cli­mate pro­tec­tion had gained even more in im­por­tance in the past few years and the DMK 2020 strat­egy was up­dated to give it the high­est pri­or­ity.

“We value the fact that milk, our raw ma­te­rial, is a prod­uct of na­ture and we want to en­sure that we pro­duce, process and sell our raw milk re­spon­si­bly. Ger­man dairy in­dus­try en­joys a pos­i­tive im­age in so­ci­ety but is also un­der crit­i­cal ob­ser­va­tion by the pub­lic, par­tic­u­larly in the ar­eas of farm an­i­mal wel­fare con­di­tions, feed­ing and an­i­mal health. That’s why Milk­mas­ter was de­vel­oped. Milk­mas­ter de­scribes our stan­dards for re­spon­si­ble milk pro­duc­tion and gives farm­ers sup­port in con­tin­u­ously im­prov­ing their farms.”

Go­ing for­ward, both of our ex­perts be­lieve there is great prospects for growth of the in­dus­try in the re­gion, with Nader say­ing: “Cheese is in gen­eral a grow­ing cat­e­gory as con­sumers are be­ing more and more aware of what they are buy­ing; search­ing for prod­ucts with more nutri­tional val­ues for them­selves and their kids. With the snack­ing trend in the rise, cheese is be­com­ing the health­ier choice as it is high in protein, high in cal­cium and in vi­ta­mins.”

Gonzalez agreed, say­ing the fu­ture is brighter here than in other re­gions. “When com­par­ing Mid­dle East to dairy sat­u­rated mar­kets like Europe, it’s clear to see that it’s an area with a high growth po­ten­tial. Our own es­ti­ma­tion is around 2-3% p.a. de­pend­ing on the cat­e­gory.

“The di­rec­tion that we can see the in­dus­try tak­ing is to­wards dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion. Many brands are of­fer­ing a prod­uct port­fo­lio with added value but em­pha­sis­ing on be­ing dif­fer­ent from the com­peti­tors.”

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