Sandeep Khimnani
Business Head - FMCG, T. Choitrams & Sons LLC

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Tell us about your business

T. Choithram & Sons Group has been operational since 1944 and expanded to the Middle East region in 1974 with interest in distribution, retailing, manufacturing. It is spanning across 25 countries including UAE, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar in GCC.

What are top 3 trends in the F&B industry?

According to me, the top trends in the industry are:

1)Healthy eating (low sugar, low sodium etc.)

2) Organic and fairtrade supply, along with sustainability

3) New innovations

 

How do you see technology affecting F&B business?

New developments in food technology will help to increase the shelf life of products and will reduce the use of preservatives.

On the other hand, back office technology will help reduce inventory and lead time. It will increase efficiency while lowering manpower requirements.

Also, point of sale technology will help understand the customers better while improving loyalty programs and contact-less payments.

 

         What are the top challenges you face in your business? 

I can summarize the top challenges in our business in a few points:

1) Rising cost of business operations

2) Constant change in demographics

3) Lowered consumer confidence and spending power

 

How has SIAL been for you to purchase inventory and source new products?

SIAL has been great to find new products and sources, capture new trends and place orders.

 

What are you looking forward to the most at SIAL Middle East this year?

I am looking forward to exploring international trends and innovations which support sustainability and healthy living.

 

How do you see the future of food retail stores?

The future food stores will focus on more fresh, healthier and sustainable products. Also e-commerce will replace the bricks and mortars.

 

What effect do you see from different types and quality of packaging on buying habits?

If the shelf-life of the product increases due to innovative packaging, it will increase consumption and reduce wastage. On the other hand, aesthetic packaging will always increase consumption. Consumers demand sustainable packaging, especially for  organic brands.