UAE’s Cream of the Crop
Writer: Matthew Staff
Project Manager: Sammy Wilkinson
Delta Food Industries is capitalising on a strong first four years of operations inside Sharjah Airport Free Zone, UAE with its latest capital investment which will see enhancements across capacities, range and efficiencies as the Company enters the next stage of its international development.
The Free Zone exporter of food products - ranging across tomato paste, tomato ketchup and milk powder products since 2011 - occupies an area of 9,000 square metres inside the Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF-Zone), but with an ethos of continuous improvement and expansion, a recent 20 percent stake sale to Rafi Agrifood in July has set the tone for its biggest step forward to date.
In-keeping with the Company’s general upgrade and expansion plan across its facilities, a new plant for the production of evaporated milk and sterilised cream is due to open in December, 2015; not only consolidating its strong position in the Middle East and GCC market but leveraging its new products to introduce more advanced technologies and process into the business also.
“In September, 2014 we decided to venture for the manufacture of evaporated milk and cream and immediately purchased the adjacent premises at E2-10 and ordered machineries for dairy plants,” says Chairman, Shiraz Osman. “The new dairy production machinery is a modern, state-of-the-art technology imported from Europe and India and is capable of producing 90,000 cartons of 170 gram evaporated milk and cream.
“The processing facility for the dairy plant has also been designed in such a way that it can double its capacity by adding one Steriflow.”
The flexibility and speed in which Delta Food can make such decisions is testament to its youth in the market, but also to the levels of innovation and ambition within the business, and Osman is already assured that there is a customer base ready and waiting to capitalise on the new product offering.
He continues: “Customers, both existing and new, are already aware of the new facility and look forward to purchasing everything from one supplier rather than shopping around for different products from different suppliers.”
Once opened, the new plant will represent an astounding evolution in such a short space of time, from origins that began when Chairman, Shiraz Osman invited food industry expert and friend, Ali Parpinchi to join him in a venture that initially only comprised five members of staff.
More than 200 additional employees later, and a series of aggressive expansions and investments has forced the issue from a production capacity perspective over the years, backed up by an even more pivotal commitment to quality processes and quality products.
“Whenever demand increases, Delta increases its production capacities by adding new machines, and this has recently included a processing facility - the backbone of the Company - so that production capacities can be easily expanded in the future just by adding new filler and seamer machines,” explains Osman.
To further compound this dedication to quality, Delta also works closely with the health department of Sharjah Municipalities and SAIF-Zone to adhere to the very best health & safety guidelines, while it is also ISO 22000, ISO 9000, HACCP and HALAL certified; all of which lays the foundations for an even bigger concerted focus on rapid product and service launches along the way.
He says: “Over the years, Delta has also introduced the packaging of new products like custard powder, starch, oats and semolina, while new machineries have been added for the manufacture of different sizes of tomato paste, hot sauce and milk powder in tins.
“With a versatile manufacturing unit, good team members and the active involvement of partners, Delta Food has progressed well and met expectations and visions, which has led us to our further expansion, and decision to venture into manufacturing evaporated milk and cream.”
The end result is a plethora of tailored products that Delta Food Industries knows will be successful in the Middle East market, embracing the latest consumer trends; not just in terms of eating habits, but also in regards to how customers want their food packaged and presented.
Subsequently supplying said products within tins, pouches, glass bottles, sachets and PET jars, the Company’s diversity also has a knock-on effect on the types of sizes that can be offered as well.
“Delta has introduced additional products as per the requirements of its existing customers which has resulted in quick expansion,” Osman explains. “Delta’s manufacturing unit is versatile, meaning it can increase its production by adding different packaging units; for example, starting with tomato paste, Delta started with just two packaging sizes; 400 grams (g) and 850g.
“Now, by adding different filler machines, it has numerous additional sizes; 70g, 175g, 370ml, 1.6 kilograms (kg), 2.2 kg and 4.5 kg.”
This strategy has been replicated across its milk powder products and completes a cycle of continuous improvement that embraces manufacturing, capacities, automation, flexibility and, ultimately, product quality and diversity.
Trust and credibility
The demographic of customers subsequently enjoying the fruits of Delta’s labours are primarily private brands in international markets, as well as locally distributed to clients.
The all-encompassing, turnkey nature of what Delta has created, however, now lends itself to looking further afield in the future.
Osman notes: “Apart from UAE, Delta’s main customers are in Iraq and GCC countries including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain. We also export to countries in Africa though, including Somalia, Sudan, Guinea and Ethiopia. Once our capacity permits, we will continue to branch out across the Arab League countries like Egypt and Libya too.”
Facilitating this strategy is an in-house supply chain management department catering for the needs of both the Company’s internal systems and those of its customers; once again bringing into mind areas of sustainability and operational excellence.
Now, firmly driven by its newest and most significant of additional plants, Delta Food can cast an eye to a future which will also incorporate a stronger emphasis on vertical integration by establishing a plant to manufacture its tins; the Company’s primary packaging material.
By doing so, the turnkey offering will be almost complete, the appeal to customers will reach new levels on a broadened scale, and the Company will have come true on a promise which was first laid out by the founders back in 2011.
“Delta’s USP is the manufacturing of goods in private labels, so not marketing the Delta brand on the packaged products; a strategy which most competitors don’t entertain,” Osman concludes. “Delta aims for quality production and timely disposition of deliverables, and these are the key factors that establish trust and credibility with our partners and customers.
“Delta is quick to recognise the customer needs and expand its portfolio of products to satisfy these market demands.”