Nestlé on Tuesday opened a $145 million factory in Dubai – its third in the UAE and 18th in the Middle East.
The Swiss food and drinks manufacturer will produce Maggi soups and bouillons (broths and stocks for cooking), at the Dubai South site, as well as Nescafé coffee products. It will not produce Maggi noodles, which are popular in India and Asia.
Nestlé already manufactures milk powder and confectionery such as KitKat and Mackintosh Quality Street at its Nido factory in Dubai’s Techno Park, Jebel Ali, and has a water factory in Al Quoz where it produces San Pellegrino, Perrier and Nestlé Pure Life bottled water, among other brands.
The new Al Maha factory is located in Dubai’s manufacturing and logistics free zone Dubai South, close to Al Maktoum International Airport.
It covers 130 million square metres and has a production capacity of 65,000 kilotonnes (KT), staffed by 340 employees. The facility was built to send zero waste to landfill, and Nestlé is seeking permission to install solar panels to power the site.
Yves Manghardt, chairman and CEO of Nestlé ME, told Arabian Business that the factory would begin manufacturing new products for the region by the end of 2017.
The company plans to launch several new soup flavours and bouillons in the Middle East, insprired by Arabic flavours, Manghardt said.
He would not be drawn on the details, but noted that ingredients such as cardamon, rosewater and orange blossom were especially popular with customers in the region.
“We want to offer products that are even more tailored to local consumers,” he said.
The Middle East accounts for $2.4 billion of Nestlé’s total $90 billion global sales, and around 20 percent of the company’s one billion consumers across the entire EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region.
The company has operated in the Middle East for 80 years and relocated its regional headquarters to Dubai in 2011, extending the initial short term lease the year after.
The UAE is the second largest market for Nestlé ME after Saudi Arabia, which accounts for 35 percent of the business.
Manghardt said he anticipated “positive growth” for the region in 2017 after a choppy few years that saw the company lose more than $270 million of business due to political unrest and conflict in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.For all the latest retail news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.