Shamim Sainulabdeen
Product Development Manager, Lulu International

Tell us about your business

We are one of the leading retail chains in the GCC with more than 125 hypermarkets. Our business also extends to other fields like imports, exports, trading, shipping, education, IT, travel & tourism etc.

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

For me, the top trends in the industry are: 
1. Selection of healthy and organic foods
2. Invention of new packaging and flavours E-revolution, from cart to click: Online shopping, apps and delivery services are transforming customers’ access to deals, offers and promotions.

How do you see technology affecting F&B business?

Technology is redefining how companies identify growth opportunities, operate their business and manage risk. Companies are increasingly recognising the value of data to improve decision making related to consumer insight, brand/product management and pricing. Online shopping is one of the most emphasised technology that enables customers to easily run price comparison, learn ingredient details, identify banned items/ingredients etc.

What are the top challenges you face in your business?

We are facing no major challenges except for some impact of the region’s recent socio economic changes, especially the instability of crude oil prices. We consider it as a part of business cycle which is inevitable. 

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

SIAL is the largest platform for world renowned manufacturers, brands and retailers . We have identified and selected a lot of innovative products from reliable manufacturers at SIAL. It also helps to avoid third party intervention in business relations.

What are you looking forward the most at SIAL Middle East 2016? 

As a regular retail partner to SIAL Middle East, we are so pleased to announce that the show is very helpful to recognize every change in the industry. The show highlights advanced business techniques and trends as well as new product innovations. 

How do you see the future of food retail store?

The forthcoming EXPO 2020, FIFA 2022 and related developments, plus many new shopping malls and hotels have placed the region at the epicentre of global retail revolution. 

Investment in new technologies and trained manpower brings profitability and helps the industry to face growing competition. Most of the retailers are extending their reach to customers by facilitating online shopping, loyalty programs anddelivery collection points in view of a remarkable shift of the customers to convenience shopping.

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

The main idea of packaging is to create an emotional bond between the customer and the product. A much improved and attractive idea of product packaging is the easiest way to get the customer’s attention. The application of different types of colors and logo presentations helps the customers to filter their search level. This means that premium packaging gives an indication to the quality of the product. In brief, product packaging is considering as a powerful marketing tool in the industry.

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