American Garden eyes key African, emerging markets

Popular food brand American Garden sees bright prospects to boost its business in the Middle East, Africa and emerging markets as it evolves an aggressive marketing strategy to launch its products with new brand identity, its top official said.

By Muzaffar Rizvi (INTERVIEW)

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Published: Sun 31 Mar 2013, 11:07 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 9:46 AM

The premier US company, which crossed $100 million in sales last year, will target new markets to sustain an over 20 per cent-strong double-digit growth since its inception 25 years ago. It sees up to 50 per cent business growth potential in African and emerging markets and is confident to exploit this opportunity to expand its brand across the region.

“We aim to grow even more aggressive and are confident to sustain the growth trend in coming years by exploring new food markets in Africa and emerging nations,” Morty Fazal, chairman of American Garden, told Khaleej Times in an interview during his recent visit to Dubai.

Established in 1988 to meet the increasingly diverse demands of modern lifestyle, American Garden has today become a favourite household food brand across several markets. Celebrating its silver jubilee this year, the company has introduced a new brand identity featuring bold, inviting and attractive label designs, which give a fresh look to a wide range of products and make the brand even more recognisable.

“The Middle East is a key market for us. We generate about 45 per cent of our business from this region and have firm plans to strengthen the company’s base here and expand operations in Africa and emerging markets,” Fazal said.

He said the UAE and Saudi Arabia are the main markets in the region and contribute a major share to the company’s business, which has been sustaining 20-25 per cent annual growth. He said the GCC region is likely to post the similar steady business growth in the coming years.

“We have been growing with the region so far, and we hope to continue our growth in future driven many new exciting products that compliment today’s modern living in the presence of innovative technologies and new life experiences,” Fazal said.

He hailed the regional government’s initiatives to protect consumers’ rights, however he expressed concern over pricing issues and said suppliers’ interest should also be watched to ensure a level playing field to all stakeholders.

He said the American Garden basket boasts a wide range of over 250 products in over 25 categories including canned foods, condiments, kitchen helpers, sweet treats and snacks available in over 50 countries across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe.

“We have come a long way having started with a single product category — canned vegetables. We are now the leaders in numerous categories in many markets, and we look forward to even more success in the coming years,” Fazal added.

He said the brand focuses on sharing high-quality American products that offer authentic recipes and flavours from all around the world at affordable prices.

“This strategy has helped American Garden become one of the leading food brands in the UAE as well, where it has established market leadership in mayonnaise, dressings, peanut butter, popcorn and many other categories,” he said, adding that the company plans to introduce more halal products (poultry and meat), wellness and other value-added food items later this year.

“We aim to establish leadership across all the markets in the region in our core categories like mayonnaise, dressings, ketchup, popcorn and peanut butter,” he said.

In reply to a question, he said the company has no plans to set up manufacturing plants in the region as it feels more comfortable to cater to the region’s growing demand through its production facilities in the US.

“We are already sourcing a few products from the UAE and hope to increase it further as demand of UAE products is also increasing, especially in the Africa region,” he said.

To a question about the future of American Garden in the Gulf’s competitive market, he said: “We see a very positive picture in the future and have very aggressive plans as well to strengthen our market position driven by the introduction of value-added products.”

“The success we have had in the past 25 years was a result of our intimate understanding of the markets we operate in and the taste preferences of people in these regions,” Fazal said.

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