Dubai: In terms of its UAE reach, Barakat, the company behind the fresh juice brand, has ticked just about all the boxes there are at the moment. Its products are there at supermarkets and in vending machines at hospital entrances and offices.
And when COVID-19 struck, it was quick to get onto online, tying up an alliance with the online marketplace noon just as the latter was launching its daily grocery order and delivery services. Plus, Barakat has its own online presence to get consumers think of it as their go-to option for fresh.
But that’s as far as the UAE is concerned. The time has come for the Dubai company to think beyond this geography… and by the sound of it, Barakat is doing so.
“Nearly all of our sales – from fresh juices, fruits and vegetables – are derived from the UAE,” said Rashid Alabbar, who is on the Board of Directors. “That’s simply because we’re not there in any other market – we will be changing that.”
Top of the list
An entry into Saudi Arabia is the obvious choice, but with Barakat, such decisions are not as simple as they seem. While serving up fresh is a USP in itself, it comes with certain caveats too. “The technology exists where we can ship them out in refrigerated conditions and then onto stores in another market,” said Alabbar. “But when we are talking of scale – and in a market like Saudi Arabia, it’s the case – then we need to have a localized manufacturing presence.
“That’s the fact when talking about products with an average three-day shelf-life. We need to be on the ground.”
Alabbar hinted that internal talks are veering in the direction of new markets and new production capacities, but beyond that he did not go into the when and where. The fresh juices category in the region is growing at high single-digit numbers, and per capita consumption could rise to be on par with markets elsewhere. Lifestyle choices and health considerations should speed up that process.
For now, going online has helped open up more possibilities in the UAE. The noon association will ensure saturation reach possibilities, and with more of UAE’s grocery transactions getting done online, Barakat stands a good chance of making that presence felt.
Opt for a new look
This could explain why the brand has chosen to go in for a refreshed look after two decades. “The COVID-19 situation gave us a lot of time to look at what needed changing… and it was felt that branding had to be one of them,” he added. “It was the cool thing to do.”
A fresh look can always come in handy… and a brand that deals in fresh will know that best.