Rakesh Jha
General Manager – Sales, Al Maya Distribution

Tell us about your business?
We are a family owned business house, operating in FMCG Retail & Distribution.

What are top 3 trends in the F&B industry?
UAE beverage industry is quite resilient and growing. I think key trends in the category are: 
1. Fresh juices and organic produces
2. Consumer preference are fairly consistent, hence the existing brands are doing quite well
3. Innovation & consumer engagement has become quite important. e.g. social media started playing pivotal role in shaping the industry further.

How do you see technology affecting F&B business?
Technology is further shaping the industry, be it social media to reach-out to the target audience, app driven ordering system or mobile sales force devices to track the orders and many more affecting the F&B business.  

What are the top challenges you face in your business?  
The high cost of doing business is one of the key challenges today. There is also scarcity of industry specific talents in the market. 
UAE being a focal point in the global market, brings a lot of competition and innovation; hence the theory of Darwin applies as “survival of the fittest”. On the other hand, customers’ preferences and demands have grown many folds, which forces suppliers to maintain competitive at all times.

How has SIAL been for you to purchase inventory and source new products? 
We have been visiting SIAL Middle East exhibition regularly to source new products. SIAL gives an opportunity to meet industry specific stalwarts as well as visiting principals from other countries. 

What are you looking forward the most at SIAL Middle East 2016 this year? 
I am interested to see innovative products on offer this year at SIAL Middle East. 

How do you see the future of food retail store?
The future food retail stores will be technology driven and quality products will be sold at an affordable price.
What effect do you see from different types and qualities of packaging on buying habits? 
An attractive packaging plays an important role in getting Attention of the customers, leads to Interest, which generates Desire and ultimately culminates into Action, i.e. purchase of the product. In management language, it is called AIDA. Although its quality which matters in the long term, but a well packaged product certainly gets the desired attention from the consumer.

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