The Masala King

Today, with 50 stores in the UAE and over 9,500 products under its umbrella, Al Adil is the preferred food destination of Indians in the GCC. Chairman and Managing Director Dr Dhananjay (Jay) Datar aka Masala King, speaks about Al Adil's success story and its brand perception


By Shilpa Chandran

Published: Tue 26 Oct 2021, 3:07 PM

Earlier in October, Al Adil opened its 50th store in Jumeirah Village Circle (JVC) in Dubai, coinciding with the UAE’s Year of the 50th.

A household name for Indian spices, condiments and food products, Al Adil Trading Company has enjoyed a remarkable journey for around 35 years. With a new generation entering the family business, chairman and managing director of Al Adil Trading, Dr Dhananjay (Jay) Datar says that the business can now see a new wave of offerings for its clientele. The brand aims to accelerate its offering through ecommerce, to expand reach and variety.

The company also plans to introduce more products from the south of India to its already comprehensive range of 9,500 products as well as expand to more areas in the GCC region. The brand is also unique in offering organic products at its stores that are sourced directly from farmers in India, hence being able to offer affordable rates for customers.

Besides JVC, Al Adil stores were also launched in the Greens, Jumeriah Lake Tower, Discovery Garden, Al Barsha, besides one in Abu Dhabi.

Under the Peacock brand, the store offers a range of products from lentils to spices, condiments to grains and millets, noodles, biscuits, oils, pickles, and a range of other food items. Additionally, the store is also popular during Indian festivals as a hub that offers materials required by each community, items that were traditionally bought directly from India on their travels back and from home.

Detailing more on the expansion plans in the GCC region, Dr Datar says that the market is now good with the launch of Expo 2020 Dubai. “Government authorities are supportive and with more people coming to the UAE for the Expo, we believe this is a good time to expand. With this in mind, we are planning to launch at Al Warqa and Al Arjan in Dubai as well other areas in Al Ain and Abu Dhabi. We are also refurbishing six to seven stores for relaunch this year.”

With continuous expansion every year, Dr Datar explains why it is an integral part of the business strategy. “We Indians love our food. Anywhere we are, or travel to, around the world, we look for our food. This is what we are specialised in, bringing to the UAE more than 9,500 items of food stuff from India.”

He adds: “We are planning to bring more food items from South India — Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra. These will include pickles, papadoms, spices, as we see more demand for this now. As more and more Tamilians are moving to the UAE, the demand is getting bigger. We have traditionally been specialised in dinnert ime Indian items, but now this will be a good market for us. We have also been adding more staff members from these states who have all observed a growing demand from this region, especially since the last seven years.”

Besides retail, Al Adil is witnessing a jump in its wholesale and catering businesses. For the past 34 years, the company has been supplying to Dubai Duty Free, 5-star hotels and restaurants. “As this time is ripe, now is a good time to grow the catering business as well.”

Talking about the ecommerce business, Dr Datar explains: “We are also seeing an increase in ecommerce demand. We have partnered with several delivery partners such as Talabat, Instashop, Careem, and so on. While this growth increases, we continue to see a heavy footfall in stores as well.”

On affordable pricing that ensures competitiveness as well as quality, Dr Datar says: “With respect to our in-house packaging, and the direct buying from farmers in India from different parts of India with no middlemen, we are able to maintain our low prices. Our export company in Mumbai has been supporting us with this. We buy it directly from a certified body. Therefore we are able to have one of the largest collection of organic foods, with the most affordable prices.”

With a keen aptitude and a strong attitude to turn problems into opportunities, Dr Datar has remained a strong lead in steering his business to the great heights it has reached today. He has been able to tackle and face challenges in the eye and work around them in a manner that best assures his business and employees. From the many lessons he pocked during gathering global economic slump in 2008, he has been able to deploy them during the pandemic that took place last year. He ensured that the business ran simultaneously to continuously offer customers what they required during the Covid-19 restrictions, without compromising on quality.

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