Camel-milk chocolate set for Swiss debut

Dubai's Al Nassma eyes launch in Egypt, spin-off products including camel ice-cream
Camel-milk chocolate set for Swiss debut
Martin Van Almsick, general manager of Al Nassma, said demand for its camel-milk products is rising
By Shane McGinley
Tue 16 Aug 2011 11:05 AM

Dubai's Al Nassma, the world's first brand of chocolate made with camels' milk, is set to debut in Switzerland next month as global demand for the product soars, its general manager said.

The confectionary is already available in Japan and Europe, in addition to Gulf states Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and the company hopes to begin distribution in Egypt in September.

“[Demand] is very big really. Starting next month we will be available in 60 outlets all over Switzerland, in the motherland of chocolate,” said general manager Martin Van Almsick.

“People love milk chocolate but they long for something new and we provide that. We provide a new story, a new taste and we are from Dubai and that stirs up some images in the minds of the European customers, as it does the Japanese customers.”

At its coffee shop in Mall of the Emirates, Al Nassma already sells camel-themed hot drinks such as Camelattes and Camelcinos and has plans for more spin–off products.

“You will see [camel-milk] ice-cream next month in Mall of Emirates,” said Van Almsick, but added the speed of Al Nassma’s growth was limited to the quality of the camel milk sourced.

“Our growth is limited to the camel milk we have available. There is just one company in the world we can use. It is outstanding. Anything else we cannot use as we cannot use [camel milk] from Oman or Saudi Arabia as it is not processed.”

Though demand for camel-milk products may be strong, UAE dairies suffered a set-back after the European Union said it was unlikely to give permission for the export of fresh camel milk before 2013, citing concerns over disease and import controls.

The trade bloc had sent inspectors to review camel farms in the Gulf state in late January, but declined to allow exports until a list of recommendations were met.

The UAE has two camel farms, Al Ain Dairy and the Emirates Industry for Camel Milk and Products, which produce the Camelait and Camelicious brands respectively. The product was launched on to the UAE market five years ago.

If granted, a green light from the EU could open doors to supplying camel milk to the US and Canadian markets, as well as China and Hong Kong.

An industry source told Arabian Business that UAE authorities were in talks with distributors in countries including Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, South Africa, Jordan and the Maldives.

Van Almsick said the ban on milk exports did not affect chocolate sales in Europe.

“As chocolate manufacturers we are not affected by this,” he said. “This is just concerning milk. You can imagine if you ship milk with a shelf life of four days to Europe I mean what is going to be the market success of this of fresh milk?”

Camel milk contains five times more vitamin C than cow milk, less fat, less lactose and more insulin, making it a good option for diabetics and the lactose intolerant, he said.

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