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Kerry Group will contribute to Saudi Vision 2030, CEO says at Jeddah plant opening
Jeddah: Kerry Group, the Irish food and beverage company, sees Saudi Arabia as a very dynamic market for the industry, with the Kingdom’s Food and Drug Administration allocating health and nutrition on a pro-rata basis, which is a important aspect of Vision 2030.
At the launch of its new state-of-the-art 21,500 square foot facility in Jeddah last week, the company’s CEO, Edmond Scanlon, said the Kingdom was a vibrant food and drink market.
“We see consumers looking for more variety, more exciting products and more sophisticated products in terms of taste and nutrition. We see health and nutrition as a top priority for the Saudi Food and Drug Administration and we see health and nutrition as a very important aspect of Vision 2030,” he told Arab News. .
He said Kerry can contribute to these goals in three ways; firstly by developing local suppliers and supplying their manufacturing plant in Jeddah and secondly by providing food and beverage manufacturers with local supply of food and food and beverage ingredients for the Kingdom and thirdly by hiring local people in all functions.
“Looking to the future, building a center of excellence for food science, food technology and food innovation will begin with the recruitment of local university graduates,” he said.
He pointed out that the region has good local and global food and beverage manufacturers.
“And we think we can work with these food and beverage manufacturers to bring the right products to market for this region for what is a huge consumer base,” he said.
Kerry also sees the Middle East region as a potential launching pad to Africa. “We are very excited to bring innovation from this region to other parts of the Middle East and also to Africa,” he said.
Scanlon stressed that localization and food security has always been an important goal across the region.
“But I think that goal has only grown in importance in recent years, especially as COVID-19 has disrupted the global food supply chain so much,” he said.
He added: “Kerry’s strategy is a local strategy. We want to source, develop, manufacture and supply products in every country in which we operate. So that’s part of our hyperlocal strategy, and we think that’s very much in line with the government’s goals when we look at the region.
The Kerry Group is currently working on its plans for the next five to ten years for the region.
“It’s been an important aspect of my trip,” Scanlon said, “because I’ve traveled the region over the last period and we’ve met a lot of customers, we’ve met a lot of food and beverage manufacturers , we met with many agencies across the region to understand where the food and beverage industry is headed.”
“We see many opportunities to invest more in the region. And we are extremely attached to it. I am sure we will announce further expansion plans in the region in the not too distant future,” he added.