Pasta perfection

Anticipating an estimated turnover of AED15 million (US $4 million) this year, Holland House, the foodservice division of Dubai-based Al Ghurair Foods, credits its recent upsurge in growth to streamlining operations and boosting production power at its pasta facility.

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By  Lynne Nolan Published  October 26, 2006

|~|arzubody.jpg|~|Arzu Adiguzel, sales manager, Holland House|~|Anticipating an estimated turnover of AED15 million (US $4 million) this year, Holland House, the foodservice division of Dubai-based Al Ghurair Foods, credits its recent upsurge in growth to streamlining operations and boosting production power at its pasta facility. Established in 1976, Al Ghurair Foods has grown from a small flourmill to a multi-product manufacturing enterprise. Supplying more than 50 hotels in the UAE, the Bustan Macaroni Noodles (BMN) facility at Jebel Ali Free Zone — part of the Holland House group — started operations three years ago, and now boasts the largest pasta production capacity in the region. Introducing new production lines at BMN’s 21,250m² plant has reaped dividends for the supplier, with pasta production predicted to reach 72,000 tonnes next year. Yet in a bid to ever-increase its market share, the company is currently developing a string of new products. “We have been looking into sourcing pasta sauces from Europe. The market is moving more towards individual needs, so gluten free products are also in the pipeline. The company is also seriously considering adding egg as an ingredient for the pasta,” reveals Arzu Adiguzel, sales manager, Holland House. However, Adiguzel says that adding new product ranges regularly is no longer a speedy process for the supplier, as mass production can only start once the team has ensured the products’ feasibility in the market. A step towards this has seen the company recently streamline its distribution network with teams focusing on designated zones of the UAE’s hospitality sector, as well as tightening up its product portfolio. The move, part of Holland House’s strategy to supply to all levels, from independent restaurants and bakeries to five-star properties, has proved valuable to BMN’s business, with a wide selection of pasta varieties and packaging now available. “Holland House’s restructuring involved dropping products that were not proving popular. Foodservice distribution has now expanded considerably and we are seeing the profits. Our strength currently lies in the fact that we use our own raw materials and can customise products for every segment,” Adiguzel says. In 2005 BMN dispatched 32,125 tonnes of pasta, with that figure rising to 38,500 tonnes this year to date, with the 200-strong team producing and packaging products — chiefly spaghetti and macaroni — under the brands La Casa, Pastadoro and Jenan Rosa. BMN’s production scope, however, widens further to offer varieties such as tortiglion, penne lisci, cellantini, conhiglie, vermicelli, cornetto regate and linguine. ||**|||~|ghurair-body.jpg|~|Procuring freshly milled semolina, flour and oil for making the pasta from Al Ghurair Food’s mill and edible oil refinery — both based nearby at Jebel Ali Free Zone — ensures BMN has easy access and availability to its products.|~|Made predominantly with a 20% flour and 80% semolina mix, 65 tonnes of pasta can be produced per day on the long and short cut lines. BMN controls the standard of the final products by using raw materials from Holland House’s other production plants in the neighbouring area. Procuring freshly milled semolina, flour and oil for making the pasta from Al Ghurair Food’s mill and edible oil refinery — both based nearby at Jebel Ali Free Zone — ensures BMN has easy access and availability to its products. “Using our own raw materials from the mill and refinery ensures quality and freshness, which is a huge selling point for the pasta. We are a very flexible company, and convenience is the most important factor when supplying the UAE’s burgeoning hospitality industry,” Adiguzel comments. Adiguzel continues to add that there are a limited number of distributors in the UAE that have the same level of control over its raw materials as Holland House, and that controlling all the parameters has brought the company greater efficiency. ||**|||~|al-ghurair-body.jpg|~|Established in 1976, Al Ghurair Foods has grown from a small flourmill to a multi-product manufacturing enterprise. |~|Additionally, the logistics of transporting bulk orders to BMN’s customers across the Middle East, and not just the UAE, has been advanced significantly with the opening of Holland House’s distribution office in Saudi Arabia. The new administrative centre is part of a wider attempt to build more contracts in the Kingdom, with BMN currently operating five trucks from the Jebel Ali plant, specifically serving the foodservice industry. Available in 400g, 500g, 1kg and 5kg bags, BMN also offers products under private labels, a move that has secured clients as far a field as Hong Kong. But Adiguzel says that despite the facility not yet using additives to turn out pasta in unusual colours, the company has met requests for pasta to have a more yellow, and even white colour. Additionally, BMN has been able to refine its production by working alongside chefs in the region as well as the Emirates Culinary Guild, in order to discover what restaurants require. “On a micro level, the needs of our clients in the foodservice business are totally different from one another, particularly when it comes to pricing, so addressing that, as well as the demands of constant hotel openings, is key,” Adiguzel adds.||**||

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