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Sun 11 May 2008 04:00 AM

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Kraft’s VP plans to ‘reframe categories’

New VP reveals strategy to introduce region-specific brands and to ramp up 'more responsive' production.

Kraft Foods plans to "solidify business in existing categories and markets whilst expanding the portfolio and innovations in new and fast growing markets," according to its newly appointed vice president and area director for the Middle East and Africa.

Patrick Satamian told Retail News the opening of its 60,000m², US $40 million manufacturing plant in Bahrain last month will firm up Kraft Foods' new global strategies in the Middle East. He said the facility would allow the company to be "more responsive to this region's retail and wholesale supply needs."

Kraft Foods will focus on rewiring the organisation "where they focus more on the customers, markets and introducing new talent," reframing categories, "by looking at a broader platform; instead of a biscuit category, they call it the snack category," reducing costs, and building sales and distribution models closer to consumers.

"By manufacturing our flagship products such as Tang, Kraft cheese, Jello and biscuit products in Bahrain and other locations in the Middle East & Africa region, we are able to gain first hand consumer insights," he said.

He revealed his strategy in the role would involve expansion of the company's portfolio, opening up new subcategories, and introducing region-specific brands.

"What we are looking at five years from now is what we have at the moment, but on a bigger scale: more products, better capacity, markets closer to consumers, and innovative brands that appeal to the new generation."

Satamian said his plans for 2008 were "to solidify Kraft Foods business in existing categories and markets whilst expanding the portfolio and innovations in new and fast growing markets, this will be achieved by putting in place operational models related to sales, distribution, manufacturing and logistics."

"Better synergy with suppliers and distributors is another key strategy supporting our growth," he said.

His growth strategy will be focused on the drive "to nurture the right environment for people to grow and be in a position to support our corporate mission."

"We also seek to employ and retain fresh talent, quality people in a diverse workforce, which will give Kraft Foods Middle East & Africa a broad perspective in human resources."

Key values and putting its consumers and customers first will strengthen its brand value propositions, he said, by providing the right bundle of benefits at the right price and new product innovations to drive faster top line growth.

The company's core categories are cheese and powdered categories, "both of which have enjoyed double digit growth in 2007. In Developing Markets, which includes the Middle East, Kraft Foods had great results, 11.5% growth in organic revenue."

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