Locally-owned supermarket Spinneys announced 24 winners of its incubator programme for micro food and beverage suppliers in the UAE. 22 of these brands will be fast-tracked onto Spinneys’ shelves, and the remaining two companies are set to be accepted into its product development programme.
Launched in May of this year, the Spinneys incubator programme witnessed the participation of over 160 local businesses, and has already been recognised by the UAE government’s Food and Water Security Office for its contribution to the country’s National Food Security Strategy. The initiative was created to help boost innovation among small food producer and manufacturers in the UAE by reducing barriers to entry in the supermarket industry, and to help accelerate the path to shelf listing, while also enhancing the UAE food security system.
According to the Middle East and North Africa EY Future Consumer Index, 84% of surveyed consumers now have an increased commitment to consume locally made products. This was a key factor in Spinneys’ decision to award more local suppliers in its incubator programme.
Each of the 24 winning brands will be provided with the required level of support to facilitate their supermarket listing through assistance with production and distribution, monthly coaching sessions with senior management as well as marketing resources. As part of its ‘Eat Well, Live Well’ mantra, the Spinneys team is set to add additional micro suppliers as product development partners for its ‘Spinneys Food’ label.
Related: Rising to the Challenge: The UAE’s Innovation-Driven Food Security Movement
The 24 winners of the Spinneys incubator programme. Source: Mojo PR
Of the 24 winners, eleven brands belong to the fresh food category, nine offer shelf stable products and four brands supply frozen goods. Among the winners are Honest Kitchen, which specialises in using only fresh ingredients to cook ready meals; Crumbs & Co, which offers a twist on freshly baked doughnuts; and Sprout, which creates ready-to-eat children’s meals based on nutritional science.
Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri, Minister of State for Food and Water Security, explained the significance of launching the incubator programme “A leading objective for the UAE Food and Water Security Office is to support local food production, which includes helping innovative start-ups to enhance domestic agriculture and re-imagine the UAE’s food sustainability landscape. This aligns with the objectives of the National Food Security Strategy and the directives of our wise leadership, which recognises the importance of local tech-enabled production to strengthen the UAE’s food security,” she said.
“We are dedicated to enhancing the food supply chain, boosting local production, and facilitating new and stronger connections between producers and retail chains in the UAE – in an effort to build an integrated, sustainable food ecosystem,” H.E. Almheiri further added.
His Excellency Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: “Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are a major driver of the UAE’s growth and economic development and therefore, the Ministry of Economy remains keen to encourage and promote all initiatives aimed at advancing our efforts in this direction. It is a promising trend that already established businesses are lending a hand to young and upcoming entrepreneurs through offering mentorship and knowledge-sharing.”
Spinneys’ Commercial Manager Tom Harvey added to the conversation. “Currently food imports to the UAE stand at 90 per cent. At Spinneys, we are committed to supporting the nation’s efforts to secure food for today and the future. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has meant that the F&B industry has had to re-look and rethink how we do things,” Harvey added.
Shoppers can expect to see the listed brands’ products on the shelves from October 2020.
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