Agthia Group partners with Vikas Khanna
Healthy Options: Tariq Al Qahedi, CEO of Agthia Group, with Michelin Star Chef Vikas Khanna
The collaboration aims to promote the group's Grand Mills Flour
Dubai - Agthia Group, one of the region's leading food and beverages companies, has appointed acclaimed Michelin Star chef Vikas Khanna as the brand ambassador of its Grand Mills Flour. This was announced at the recent Gulfood 2020 in Dubai as the Indian star visited the stand during a tour of Agthia's different brands.
Tariq Al Wahedi, CEO of Agthia Group, said: "We are quite happy and proud of our association with chef Khanna. This definitely strengthens our message of providing high quality and high standard of products for the consumer, especially the chakki flour that we produce. Having the product endorsed by a Michelin star chef is something that we're proud of."
"At the end of the day, we aim to serve consumer rights and enhance their experience. Chef Khanna's presence endorses the products and shows that we are on the right track here," said Al Wahedi.
Innovation at heart
A pioneer in the F&B industry, Agthia Group also has plans to introduce plant-based bottles this year, which will be commercially available for business in two months' time and demonstrates the group's strong R&D base.
"In 2015, we realised that we need to be one of the pioneers that drive innovation throughout this region and started to increase our investments into this year after year. We first started by offering two big R&D centres in the UAE - one in Abu Dhabi and one in Al Ain. As of today, we spend almost one per cent of our revenue in R&D, compared to other companies in the region who do not spend enough," Al Wahedi said.
The packaging of the new Al Ain Plant Bottle is environmentally friendly and made of 100 per cent plant-based sources, including the cap. The water bottle will further lead consumers towards sustainability as it is biodegradable and compostable within 80 days.
Agthia's international contribution has grown over the years, noting two per cent of revenue in 2015, to over 15 per cent today, making it a pan-Arab brand with an expanded market scope. Water contributes about 30-35 per cent of Agthia's portfolio, with other categories being flour and animal feed. The group is also a market leader in other fast-moving consumables, such as frozen vegetables, tomatoes, dairy and juices, etc.
Khanna: Representing India's pluralism via his dishes
Driven by passion for innovation, Chef Vikas Khanna partnered with Agthia Group to help consumers adopt sustainable means of living through Grand Mills Flour.
"I have been very inspired by Agthia Group, who are bringing unique things and getting involved in the process of innovations. I have always felt that it is a company that is always reinventing itself. If you look back at how they have evolved over the years, this partnership seems like the best way not only to encourage people to eat healthier, but also to have easy access to it and add value to people's lives. I feel proud that I am at the forefront of the whole international phase of Indian food and constantly innovating with full conviction, just like Agthia Group." he said.
Talking about his latest culinary venture in Dubai, Kinara, and its fit into the UAE's culinary ecosystem, Khanna said, "I just want to fit in what I have been doing throughout my career of almost 31 years - representing the totality of India in pluralism. When you're in Dubai, whole of South Asia comes together. So, I feel that when a restaurant like Kinara offers homage to the Indian cooking, you need to think about that constantly."
When asked about new restaurant ventures in the GCC, Khanna reiterated that he doesn't want any of his restaurants to be run-off-the-mill. He added, "Even if you eat at Kinara everything is custom made for that restaurant, which takes months of effort. So, any new market I'll step into, I'll make sure that I do that whole thing. Cooking is sacred and I don't want to commercialise that."
It's a well-known fact that Khanna and his cooking have been very inspired by his mother all his life. "Everything that I do is to make her proud. After all, she sacrificed her entire life to raise me and she deserves every honour for that.
Going back to bringing the spotlight on Indian cuisine globally, Khanna spoke about the challenges and opportunities that he sees today. Pointing out at the diversity of the cuisine, the challenge, he said, is to make people feel the different elements in food. "Some foods have acquired taste. And its challenging to change that taste. So that's a challenge. But the opportunity is if you can strike a balance by knowing your consumer. I feel proud that I am at the forefront of the whole international phase of Indian food and constantly innovating with full conviction, just like Agthia Group. What I cook is not mass produced, just like the products from this brand."
Michelin Star Chef Vikas Khanna