Choithrams CEO Rajiv Warrier said the move was in response to consumer feedback from the UAE’s large Indian community. According to Global Media Insight, Indians constitute the largest group of expats in the region, making up over 27% of the total UAE population in 2019.
Under the deal, Choithrams will distribute and market some of FCL’s most popular brands to its outlets in over 60 locations in the UAE, Bahrain, Oman and elsewhere in the Arabian Gulf.
The brands include ready-to-eat Tasty Treat snacks; Desi Atta Company, the first food collective in India to introduce a range of flours and ready-mixes from ancient Indian grains and pulses; Mother Earth, an organic and natural food brand; and Sangi’s Kitchen, which produces sauces and dips.
Snacks that plug at their hearts
Warrier said he believes the collaboration could potentially be an AED 50m ($13.6m) business.
“Choithrams is a brand that is really focused on range and making sure we meet the requirements of all kinds of consumers.
“FCL works really well with the Indian consumer, and since we have Indian families that are consumers in many of our stores across the UAE, it really works well. [These snacks] plug at their hearts,” said Warrier.
“These are very large brands within the [Indian] diaspora at large,” added Ashni Biyani, FCL’s MD, noting the MoU is just a starting point.
“This is just the beginning as far as we are concerned. We have a long, long way to go and we’re hoping that we will learn from each other,” she said.
FCL currently represents 30 brands, which Biyani said may eventually be distributed in the UAE.
FCL – part of Future Group – is India’s first sourcing-to-supermarket food company, built on a mission of sharing, which it says lies at the heart of food in India.
It acts as a catalyst from the seeding at the farm to consumption, sourcing commodities from around the world and selling them through convenience store for key metros and cash-n-carry rural distribution models.
FCL operates over 24 million square feet (2.22 million m2) of retail space in more than 350 cities across India, with an estimated 500 million customers visiting its stores annually.