Best-in-class technologies, spectacular products and its strong base in Jafza are enabling the company’s upward trajectory, despite the odds
Gulf Seafood is one of the UAE’s leading food service focused seafood processing companies. Headquartered in Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), the company has been serving the world with premium quality frozen seafood for more than three decades. Owing to its high standards of quality and service, the company has a loyal customer base including the likes of 5-star hotels, fine dining and chain restaurants, flight kitchens, catering companies and distributors.
The Zone speaks to Richard Pereira, Chief Operating Officer for Enhance Group – Manufacturing, to know more about the company’s stellar offerings, sustainability measures, Jafza’s crucial role in enhancing business in the post-COVID era and future expansion plans.
Elaborate on the company’s growth and expansion plans.
Gulf Seafood has been operating in Jafza for almost 30 years. We have quite literally progressed alongside the free zone. Our business is 100 per cent food service focused. The pandemic severely impacted our business. At one point, we lost over 80 per cent of our sales.
But since then, thanks to Jafza and the efforts of the UAE government, we’ve risen above that and are now back on track in terms of growth. Gulf Seafood was posting eight per cent compounded annual growth before the pandemic. We once again look forward to expanding our business consistently in the UAE and beyond and are very excited for what the future holds.
How does the company’s facility in Jafza enable its growth?
Jafza has definitely played a crucial role in our growth over the years. Being in the free zone has been a real blessing for us, as we started as an export company and sold primarily to Europe.
Having our headquarters in the free zone has allowed us to be close to and well connected with our core markets across the world. We can export and import goods in a speedy and seamless way.
The infrastructure here and the continuous support for businesses makes working here just outstanding.
What role has Jafza played in enhancing business?
With Jafza’s support, we have been able to consistently grow our business. The technology platforms that exist in the free zone are remarkable and make it very easy to do business. The processes are simple, clear, and efficient. But best of all is that operating from the free zone has allowed us to remain agile and quickly respond to our customer needs irrespective of their location in any corner of the world.
Which markets does Gulf Seafood serve?
We serve several countries in the GCC and beyond. Our primary business is here in the UAE and we also sell in Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. We also ship our products to the US, Canada, Mexico, Maldives, and Mauritius.
What latest technologies has Gulf Seafood adopted?
Cooking and freezing technologies are critical to our business model. We currently have the region’s only freeze drying processing technology which allows us to retain the nutritional value of our products. The process also preserves the actual colour, shape, and texture of the products and ensures that consumers enjoy superior quality foods every single time.
We are also growing our business across multiple sectors which is why we have a wide range of cooked products on offer.
“Freeze drying gives us a unique advantage and is enabling us to look at new avenues for growth in the coming years.”
Tell us about your sustainability initiatives
We are an eco-conscious business constantly working to reduce our environmental footprint.
Our rooftop solar system produces clean energy and constitutes 30 per cent of our total energy consumption.
We have an Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) that allows us to treat industrial wastewater from our factory for reuse or safe disposal.
Our ETP also brings the water up to irrigation standards to be used in the facility here in the UAE. This has made the entire space green and beautiful. Our other initiatives include the use of oxo-biodegradable plastic instead of the standard plastic bags.
The former biodegrades naturally and harmlessly without causing environmental damage.