The Ireland-based business Kerry Group has a division operating out of Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) that, among other activities, is helping meat processors from the Middle East use on-trend flavours and ingredients.
“We have a lot of things going on with BRF,” said Gilles Ghoussoub, business development manager of meat at Kerry Group.
“They are one of the most innovative players in the region. You just need to look at the number of NPD launches in the market and check who has and who hasn’t launched… You will see that BRF is right up there at the top.”
Ghoussoub would not comment further on how Kerry continues to help BRF reformulate products in its portfolio. However, he said this was part of a wider company strategy to work with food firms in the region to develop products that could meet what many expect to be rising demand for clean-label meat.
“The market here [in the Middle East] is turning into a commodity market and everyone is fighting to have the cheapest product, but what we’re thinking is, instead of fighting cheap brands, let’s offer something that will help people,” Ghoussoub added.
Clean labelling is fast becoming a sought-after standard in the food industry, with more businesses exploring how to reformulate products as consumers look for food that appears to be healthier and less processed.
It is one of the hot trends highlighted by organisers of Gulfood Manufacturing 2017 - a Dubai-based trade show from 31 October to 2 November, which this year has welcomed more than 10,000 visitors from 60 countries.
While it is one of the trendy topics of discussion at the event, Ayca Koc, marketing manager for Kerry Group in the Middle East and North Africa, said businesses in the region were only just starting to explore clean-label food with genuine interest.
For meat companies in the region, Kerry is keen work with them to help reformulate products.
Based on Kerry Group’s own consumer research, shoppers looking for clean-label products seek information on what is in the food, where it is grown and how it is processed.
This can be split into three main areas: ingredients, nutrition and sustainability.