Competition heating up

The Middle East’s beverage industry is gearing up for further rivalry as increasing numbers of international brands look to the Middle East to distribute their products.

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By  Lynne Nolan Published  November 8, 2006

The Middle East’s beverage industry is gearing up for further rivalry as increasing numbers of international brands look to the Middle East to distribute their products. UK-based Thorncroft, which produces a range of health drinks, plans to enter the UAE and Oman markets by the end of this year. “We offer a range of elderflower, pink ginger, nettle and kombucha cordials, with production carried out at our organic plantation. By mixing natural ingredients like ginger with fruits such as lemons, refined sugar does not need to be added. There is a gap in the market for this type of drink,” said Guy Woodall, founder, Thorncroft. Woodall commented however, that the main challenge for the company in the Middle East market is labelling requirements, which can add up to 20% onto the selling price. However, Thorncroft recently launched four still drinks under a private label, with international exports accounting for 50% of its sales. The company also hopes to promote its Healthy Thirst Elderflower drink, as a wine substitute. The alcoholic beverage sector is also witnessing a number of new companies wanting to enter the market, with Australian-based Robinvale Organic Wines planning to make its debut in the Middle East market. The company, which produces a range of healthy products including organic and preservative free wines made from biodynamic grown grapes, plans to enter the market as soon as it has secured a supplier. Spanish wine producer and distributor, Marques de Valdepusa, is also keen to push its products in the region. Produced on the family estate in Toledo, the company has recently been recognised as the first official Vindo de Pago in the country. “Marques de Griñón produces and distributes fine wines from the Falcó family estates, including Señorío de Valdepusa in the Montes de Toledo, Dominio de Valdepusa and Capilla del Fraile, as well as El Rincón in Madrid,” said Andrés Harmsen, export assistant, Pagos de Familia Marqués de Griñon. Using the expertise of Bordeaux oenologist Michel Rolland, the company’s product portfolio includes Dominio de Valdepusa Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Petit Verdot. However, the company told Caterer Middle East that its delay in entering the Middle East market had been caused by poor communications with distributors, meaning plans to enter the market have been put back until one of the key suppliers shows an interest.

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