Made in UAE: This company puts bread on the table in 15 countries, including US, Japan, India

Every bread-making machine from the factory in Abu Dhabi carries the country's stamp



Abdul Raheem Qasem Al Marzouqi with factory employees. Photo: Supplied
Abdul Raheem Qasem Al Marzouqi with factory employees. Photo: Supplied
by

Anjana Sankar

Published: Tue 9 Aug 2022, 7:43 PM

Last updated: Wed 10 Aug 2022, 6:12 PM

A UAE-based manufacturing company is putting daily bread on the table in fifteen countries across the world, including the US, Japan, India, Yemen, Sudan and the whole of GCC, by producing high-end bread-making machines.

East Gate Bakery Equipment Factory based in Abu Dhabi is the first local manufacturer catering to the UAE bakeries, and also is the sole manufacturer of Arabic bread machines in GCC region.

“Our UAE-made bread making machines and other bakery equipment serve as the backbone for bakeries in the UAE, GCC and beyond. We are the pioneers in the field,” Khadija Abdulla, CEO of East Gate, told Khaleej Times in an exclusive interview.

“Every machine we make here carries a ‘Made in UAE’ and ‘Made in Abu Dhabi’ stamp and that is what make us proud. As a locally-born company, we are carrying the UAE flag in all the markets we serve,” she said.

Abdul Raheem Qasem Al Marzouqi. Photo: Supplied
Abdul Raheem Qasem Al Marzouqi. Photo: Supplied

From a delivery boy to an export magnate

The East Gate company was established in 1992 by Emirati businessman Abdul Raheem Qasem Al Marzouqi, who was fascinated by bakeries from a young age. The company was first named Qasem Al Marzouqi factory before it was rebranded as East Gate in 2006.

Al Marzouqi, now 76 and bedridden, was born into a poor family in Abu Dhabi and had to work as a delivery boy for a local bakery. “It was much before the UAE was formed. Life was simple. There was no electricity, drinking water or any other amenities. It was a struggle to survive, and my husband had lived through those hard times,” said Khadija who now runs the business.

Khadija Abdulla with Abdul Raheem Qasem Al Marzouqi. Photo: Supplied
Khadija Abdulla with Abdul Raheem Qasem Al Marzouqi. Photo: Supplied

“He learned the basics of the bakery business and in 1974s, he opened the Al Najjah Bakery in corniche, by making dough with his own hands. Very soon, he became the first person to open an automatic bakery in Abu Dhabi by importing bread making machines from Germany,” said Khadija.

According to her, Al Marzouqi opened more than a dozen bakeries in Abu Dhabi over the next three decades including Sultan Bakery, Qasem AlMarzooqi bakery, Al Tawfeeq bakery, Alkhayam bakery, Mussafah automatic bakery and Al Basha bakery to name a few. “He would turn a bakery into a successful business model and then sell it before opening a new one,” she said.

Khadija Abdulla
Khadija Abdulla

Though not formally educated, Khadija says Al Marzouqi was an engineer at heart and started to design bread-making machines on his own. “He learned the techniques and established the Qasem Al Marzouqi factory, the first-ever manufacturing unit in Abu Dhabi to make bakery equipment.

“All the bakeries in the country were exporting the machinery at that time. He found a niche and started supplying cutting-edge, high-quality machinery from his factory. That became a huge hit in the market. Today, we are exporting to more than 15 countries,” said Khadija.

Today, the mid-size factory located in the Mussafah Industrial area of Abu Dhabi grinds out a whole range of bakery equipment including Arabic bread ovens, Lebanese bread automatic plant, sheeter machines, dough flatteners, bread cutting machines, stainless steel trolley and aluminium trays.

The manufacturing unit is manned by 26 employees including technicians and design experts. Khadija said they source out raw materials from the UAE as well as from abroad, and once manufacturing is complete, machines are quality checked and sealed with a ‘Made in UAE’ and ‘Made in Abu Dhabi’ stamp before being shipped to different locations. “We also manufacture and export spare parts and undertake installations in and outside of the UAE.” she added.

Complex machinery to make a simple bread

Bread may be the most modest and affordable meal for millions. But the machinery needed to produce your daily bread is heavy and complex. “It is not as simple as you would imagine. It takes a line of seven machines starting from mixing, cutting the dough, proofing, then sheeting, proofing of the dough again before it goes to the oven and then for cooling. The fully automatic production line for Arabic Peta Bread can produce anything between 3,000 to 4,000 loafs per hour,” explained Khadija.

She said the quality of bakery products and cakes often depend on the quality of the machines used. “In huge production of food items, the condition and taste of bread, pastries, and cakes are reliant on the machines we use - from the preparation to shaping and slicing, down to baking as well as preservation. For instance, having a dough sheeter will ensure consistency to pie crusts, pita breads and pizza crusts. It will cut down prep time and will also prevent lumps or bubbles in the dough.”

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Another popular machine, Dough Divider can cut the dough equally and is equipped with spiral axels to push the dough balls, a flour hopper, and a multi-speed motor to control the production speed. The primary proofer that consists of seven layers gives the bread perfect fermentation.

Dough flattener is another large-sized machine that rolls dough balls into equal circular and flat chips. A tunnel oven cooks a perfect bread, and a cooling conveyor transport the bread for packaging.

“Ultimately, if you do not compromise on quality, you can become a market leader. In our case, there is no question of compromising the quality as we represent the UAE, a nation that excels in everything that it does. We are following the same mantra,” said Khadija.


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