United Products plans to rapidly expand its partner’s Middle Eastern snack brand Signature Snacks in Europe over the next two to three years, said Mario Weinfurtner, managing director at United Products.
“We can make 15 tons monthly and I think we will double next year,” he told BakeryandSnacks.com at ISM/ProSweets 2015 earlier this month.
Signature Snacks produces a range of savory and sweet snacks that it distributes in the Middle East, including salty crackers, sweet wafers and biscuits, but United Products has the distribution rights for Europe and other parts of the globe. United Products also drives R&D efforts for European products – developing and sending over recipes and prototypes for the Dubai firm to upscale.
“The good point is the tax – there’s no tax, labor costs are good and you can produce 24 hours, seven days a week,” Weinfurtner said.
Having production in Dubai, he said, was also far more practical for global distribution.
“If you ship to China from Germany, it’s double the distance. In Dubai you’re in the center, really - to ship to Europe by boat it takes four weeks, plus or minus, and to China the same.”
A shift into food
United Products has only worked in the food sector for a year – previously working just in gift cards and foil packaging – although it has been partnered with Signature Snacks since 2002.
Weinfurner said the move into food was an easy transition.
“Due to the fact we already distribute to the big groups like Aldi, Lidl – all the big guys – for point of sale cards, souvenir cards or gift cards; it’s easy from non-food to step into food.”
The plan now, he said, was to upscale Signature Snacks by increasing the portfolio and stretching distribution across Europe.
Long-term, he said United Products would consider developing a secondary brand – either more premium or less so than Signature Snacks – either way, with a totally different pricing strategy. In addition, Weinfurner said the company was prepared to sell the products to retailers for own label snacks.