Konstantinos Kontinos, Marketing Services Director, Agthia Group PJSC

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Tell us about your business

Agthia Group is a leading Abu Dhabi-based food and beverage company with a regional footprint and an aggressive expansionist agenda with a revenue target of USD 1 billion for 2020. The Company was established in 2004, bringing together brands that have been active on their own for a significantly longer period of time - in some of the cases, for more than 30 years.

51% of the Company’s shares are held by Senaat (General Holding Corporation), an Abu Dhabi Government entity, with the balance held by retail and institutional investors.

The Company’s assets are located in the UAE, Oman, Egypt and Turkey while following recent expansion activity, they will soon include Kuwait and KSA.

Agthia offers a world-class portfolio of integrated businesses providing high quality and trusted food and beverage products for customers and consumers across the UAE, GCC, Turkey and the wider Middle East.

More than 3,000 employees are engaged in manufacturing, distribution and marketing various food and beverage products: Water (Al Ain Water, Al Bayan, Alpin Natural Spring Water); Flour (Grand Mills); Animal Feed (Agrivita); Juices (Al Ain Fresh, Capri Sun); Dairy (Yoplait). An Emerging Businesses unit includes Tomato Paste, Frozen Vegetables, fruit puree and, most recently, baked goods for HoReCa customers and consumers alike.

What is unique about your products and services?

Agthia is active in everyday consumable goods in the food and beverage section – yet, within the given confines of each of the categories where we are present, we actively strive for a unique combination of superior ingredient quality, upgraded sensorial experience, healthy nutritional profile and great value. We pride ourselves as promoters of wholehearted living, and our portfolio of products encapsulates this commitment. We strongly believe that our food & beverages strike a unique sweet spot in the market, combining aspects that may be found individually in other propositions, but rarely under the same brand ‘roof’.

 

In your opinion, what are the top 3 trends in the F&B industry?

We have seen quite some few fads coming on and off on the radar - such as certain superfoods coming in and out of fashion- but we can also see some more stable and overarching trends that withstand the test of time.

Firstly, we could talk about the drive for measurably healthier offerings but –importantly enough- without any compromise at the level of overall experience and sensorial pleasure. Gone are the days where products e.g. with just a ‘light’ designation would do the trick. These today are seen as blunt and too big of a concession. Consumers today want to have the cake and eat it – and companies need to follow through. Combining healthiness/nutritiousness with a truly great experience challenges R&D Teams, but there is no way around this.

Another trend that is worth noting, is the hybridization of product categories. As consumers seek new and more exciting propositions, and as production companies are relentlessly after the holy grail of differentiation, it is very tempting to look for ideas in other categories – not necessary categories obviously related to one’s own products. This is how we get an unprecedented cross-pollination of ideas on ingredients, textures, claims and effects, packaging formats and package designs.

Finally, we could add the need for a compelling, focused story behind each brand proposition. This can involve seemingly unrelated things, like a founder’s tale, a special ingredient or a recipe with a backstory, a link to a geographical origin that rings in a certain way, or some connection with a special consumer culture or sub-segment. Big, jack-of-all trades brands have not counted their days still, but it gets increasingly difficult to compete against more focused, purposeful smaller propositions with a good story.

What benefits do you get by participating in SIAL Middle East?

We get to showcase our exciting portfolio and our ambitious expansion plans among key figures in the Business and further establish our status as a high-status Regional Food & Beverage player. Moreover, we get exposed to new ideas to fuel our growth (a pivotal priority of ours, given our innovation-focus) and set the stage for potentially lucrative business propositions and collaborations.

What is the next big plan for your business?

In the light of our 2020 expansion agenda and our 1 billion USD revenue target, geographic expansion plays a crucial role. We have established ourselves as a key UAE food & beverage player, but from this point and on accelerated growth would be sought primarily at a Regional level. Our Water Business in Kuwait and KSA will spearhead this effort, but you should expect to see more aggressive export activities across the board – in GCC and beyond. In parallel to that, we will focus on building high-awareness / high equity regional brands that will be expected to be part of the Regional consumer base.

 

How will visitors benefit from your innovative products and services?

Visitors will be exposed to exciting new propositions and get a deeper grasp of how a well-designed collective effort can make the most of market needs and evolving trends in a consumer- meaningful way.

As consumers, they will get to sample products of superior quality, nutritional profile and value that may have a positive effect in their daily habits. As business representatives, they can take advantage of our innovation focus, our commitment to expansion and our openness to new propositions - and strike promising business deals of various types.