Al Nabil Foods
Thriving on Optimism and Opportunity
An intelligent, intuitive, proactive business, Al Nabil Foods is defining the meaning of food service excellence throughout the GCC
Writer: Jonathan Dyble | Project Manager: Matthew Selby
“There’s a big focus on food quality and food safety in the GCC and Middle East at the moment. Production facilities are becoming modernised, major investments are being made into quality assurance and quality control, while influencers and more defined packaging are helping to keep the consumer well informed.
“In addition, these consumers are also concerned about the healthiness of their food, where it comes from and its impact – trends that have led to the industry being swept by innovation, from product differentiation to environmentally friendly packaging to energy saving machines.”
For Al Nabil Foods, a major Jordanian fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) business and its CEO, Ahmad Sallakh, the Middle Eastern food industry is an exciting space right now.
According to a recent report from MEED, food imports into the GCC are forecast to reach $53.1 billion by 2020, owed to changing preferences and progressive tastes. This in mind, Nabil Foods stands to thrive with its adaptive, buoyant attitudes and clear, informed strategic oversight.
“You could say,” the Chief Exec states, “that the GCC’s food and beverage market is faced with different challenges, whether they’re economic or social. But we’re always optimistic. We understand that it’s a very dynamic environment and view this as a source of opportunity.”
Defined by digital transformation
Initially launched in Baghdad, Iraq in 1945, the company relocated to Amman in 1988, consistently expanding its operations as a major regional frozen and chilled foods provider since this time.
“We’ve continued to introduce new and different products to our portfolio, aiming to meet the changing tastes and preferences of our clients and customers, manufacturing vast ranges of frozen and chilled foods from meats to desserts to ready meals,” explains Sallakh.
This adaptive, tailored approach has been key to Nabil Foods’ success over the years, the company marketing its products in alternate styles of packaging and through differentiated channels to specifically cater to the individual needs of the retail, wholesale and food service markets.
As such, the company now stands as the market leader in Jordan for the aforementioned sectors, distributing its products to 26 countries around the world, employing more than 800 highly experienced staff and leveraging industry best practice such as the deployment of transformative technologies.
“It’s company policy to remain ahead of the curve,” Sallakh continues. “To this end, we’ve regularly adopted and even pioneered the latest industry technologies, an element that has allowed global quick service restaurants (QSRs) to approach us for their procurement requirements.
“In turn, we’ve been able to supply them with products in line with local, regional and international regulations, so much so that the QSR sector now constitutes 26 percent of our entire business.”
From individual quick freezing (IQF) and robotic machinery to the use of highly advanced industrial control systems including BMS and SCADA, Nabil Foods has become a highly operationally efficient enterprise and is renowned for consistently delivering high quality products at competitive prices.
“Currently we are undergoing a seismic shift of digital transformation,” reveals Sallakh. “Whether you call it industry 4.0, the industrial internet of things or the digital factory, we’re paving the way for the ultimate ideal of fully automated smart factories.”
A proactive, modern approach
This emphasis on proactivity and modernisation is widespread throughout Nabil Foods, again evident where the firm readily deploys its research, development and sales teams to work closely with its clientele, ensuring that it develops relevant, timely products.
As part of this, each of Nabil Foods’ customers submits their annual business forecasts to the company, allowing coherent planning to be made ahead of time in order to meet the highest standards and expectations.
Sallakh adds: “With more than 700 stock keeping units dedicated for different clients and markets, our portfolio gives us a competitive advantage as a one-stop shop. All our clients need to do is submit their specifications and requirements and we do the rest, quickly, accurately and safely.”
Nabil Foods’ staff are well versed in upholding these practices throughout all levels of the business, the company priding itself on an in-depth human resources strategy that is closely aligned to the firm’s overall objectives and goals.
“This alignment ensures that the most critical resource to the company, its people, are linked with our mission and vision,” Sallakh reveals. “Training and retention strategies take precedence at Nabil Foods.
“This focus allows us to bolster efficiency by ensuring job knowledge and skills are furthered, at the same time helping to expand the horizons of human intellect and interpersonal skills of our esteemed employees.”
Consolidation and expansion
Leveraging this team of personnel, its sound, progressive philosophies and continual investments, the stage is set for Nabil Foods to excel within this positive economic climate moving forward.
“We’ve also recently upgraded some existing lines and our production facilities in Jordan, and we’re now looking to inaugurate a new plant in Iraq to enhance our presence in the country,” reveals Sallakh.
Alongside this, Nabil Foods is preparing to launch a new kids’ line using an international license obtained for the Minions from the Despicable Me franchise in cooperation with Universal Studios, while also expanding its Calculated Calorie meals and adding new recipes in a broader number of emerging markets.
Such attitudes and endeavours, among others, will be crucial in helping the company to achieve its overriding objectives for 2019 and beyond.
The CEO concludes: “It’s without question that we will continue to invest in resources, tangible and intangible, focusing more on the use of data and digitalisation to enhance efficiency and performance.
“Having a lean and digital operation, introducing new products to capture different segments and creating a fully digitalised institution are the next steps for Nabil Foods. Further, we’re equally looking to penetrate some African countries and widen our geographical footprint.
“There are a multitude of opportunities presenting themselves and we want to grasp these as we move forward.”