Futuristic facility: Marmum's new innovative farm at Nahel in Al Ain, which practices global standards in milk production
Marmum Dairy is committed to goals aligned with UAE National Food Security Strategy 2051. Managing director Sultan Al Jaberi gives a sneak peek about the producer's initatives - both in terms of technology and taste - to achieve the vision
Staying at the forefront of dairy innovations, Marmum has been producing fresh milk in the UAE since 1984. Now 35 years on, the producer continues to offer some of the best milk products available in the market today.
Due to the ever-expanding population, development of retail opportunities, and popularity of new product lines such as flavoured milk and yoghurt, the dairy sector in the UAE is booming. As one of the key dairy players in the UAE today, Marmum has gained a lot of trust from its consumers, thus playing a strategic role in building the food security map of the UAE. This has pushed the producer to think about the future of Marmum, while gauging the demand in the market and understanding what the consumer expects next.
With a clear vision, a significant investment was made in relocating both the dairy farm and manufacturing facilities from Lisailli to Nahel in Al Ain. Global best practices too have been adopted within the farming operations since animal welfare and sustainability are of paramount importance to the milk producer.
The principle of creating a sustainable business model is the foundation to all business decisions. With advanced farm technologies, such as the new filling line and processing line in the factories today, Marmum is today milking 20 per cent more cows in 20 per cent less time with 20 per cent less manpower. This definite order to serve a bigger variety of products in the UAE market with a new operational facility.
Revolutionising the dairy industry
The UAE is inherently a free market, which is why there is an influx dairy products coming in from neighbouring countries, and even across the globe. This makes the UAE market a very competitive one, pushing Marmum to stay ahead of the curve while keeping the consumer as its first priority.
According to managing director Sultan Al Jaberi, this is where the Emirati company strengthens its role as an important player in food security and freshness. "We are not afraid of the competing brands. On the contrary, I think competition is a very good thing because it only helps us accelerate our vision for making our products much better in terms of quality and more popular in terms of a diversified product range. Another reason why competition works for us is because we use this opportunity to constantly innovate and stay close to the consumer."
He also added that the UAE is totally different from other neighbouring countries because the population is so diverse and the tastes so varied. And Marmum products cater to this variety in the market, creating new flavours and striving to best accommodate the requirements of its customers by understanding their evolving tastes and needs.
Part of Marmum's role is not just to strengthen its capability locally, but also to look at the whole supply chain and do whatever it can to bolster the UAE economy. At Eurotier this year, the company signed a $27 billion deal to secure high quality feed from two local companies in Abu Dhabi that will benefit the livestock at the farm and, in turn, derive much more yield from them.
Marmum is also looking to collaborate with local educational institutions to improve the dairy business' exposure to students and open new career avenues for local Emiratis to join and be a part of the producer's growth over the years.
"It's only with innovation and excellence that can help Marmum stay ahead", says Al Jaberi. "That's why we are coming up with a lot of innovation in technology, taste and approach."
Benchmark in innovation
Innovation is at the heart of Marmum with the new farm at Al Ain being equipped with the latest in technology to build a more sustainable environment. Installing high-end rotary milking parlours and setting up rooftop solar panels that can generate about 1.6MW of electricity to run the facility makes the entire operation very efficient. Also, the factory is semi-automated for minimum human interaction, ensuring that hygiene is not compromised and the best HSE standards are maintained.
Coming to products, Marmum is constantly looking to fulfil the demand of what a customer is looking for. For instance, after thorough research, the producer found out that many of its consumers were getting local beverages such as lassi from their countries.
Today, Marmum makes lassi and its mango lassi has become very popular with the masses in the UAE. Besides these, one can find Marmum's badam (almond) milk, flavoured milk, pistachio milk as well as a whole variety of juices on the shelves of any of the UAE's supermarkets. The brand makes some very out-of-the-box flavours. "For us, innovation is not really a destination or a stop, it's a journey," reiterates Al Jaberi.
After the Nahel plant is fully launched, Marmum can look at doubling the capacity from current 91.25 million litres per year (from phase one of the new plant) across all categories. The producer is also looking to expand and invest in fresh food distribution, thus moving away from being just a dairy products producer.
Pursuing media mix
Marmum is very much aware that the media map has grown multi-laterally over the last few years in the UAE and the region. With its consumers now looking for interaction and proximity with their favourite brand, over the last few months, the dairy brand has been very forthcoming in its social media channels like Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. The digital approach has made it really easy to get feedback instantly or address a concern.
Take, for instance, the ultra-high temperature processing (UHT) milk. These are brought from all over the world here, but are not as fresh as locally produced milk. Every day Marmum delivers fresh and same-day products to its consumers that not only taste great but are healthy as well. This is one of the reasons why the brand is pursuing health campaigns via media mix - not just to talk about fresh products, but also to make the community aware of the health benefits and consumption of such products.
The next critical milestone in Marmum's journey will be the launch of the state-of-the-art manufacturing site. The producer is in the final stages of preparing the new facility to deliver the highest quality and freshest dairy and juice products.
Selecting equipment that ensures not just the highest quality standards, but is also efficient and in line with its goal of sustainability, has been Marmum's priority always and the new facility is testament to that effort.
Al Jaberi maintains that leading the transformation of Marmum Dairy is truly an incredible privilege.
Secondly, Marmum wants to inculcate the goodness of fresh milk consumption all over the UAE, especially in kids. Today, one of the biggest competitions to milk are fizzy drinks and Al Jaberi wants to shift their focus to dairy products for health reasons, keeping the fun and healthy element intact.
Cattle care: The Marmum facility at Nahel has a current livestock count of 5,100 cows
Sultan Al Jaberi, managing director of Marmum