Hunter Foods Has Evolved Over the Past 35 Years to Become a Highly Flexible, Innovative Food Manufacturing and Distribution Business, Serving Customers in Almost 40 Countries and on Seven Continents. Its Desire to Offer the Very Best Tastes, Blending Current and Emerging Food Trends, With the Best Ingredients and Most Up to Date Technologies, Has Gained the Company a Reputation for Producing a Wide Range of Superior Speciality, Gourmet and ‘better for You’ Snacks and Foods Under Its Own Brands, as Well as Also Distributing Other Stellar Brands of Cereals, Biscuits, Nuts, Oats and Granolas. We Speak to Ananya Narayan, Managing Director, Hunter Foods, Who Tells Us About the Company’s Culture and Vision, Its Relationship With Jafza, the Effects of Covid-19, and Plans for the Future.
The Zone: What do you feel is the biggest strength of Hunter Foods right now?
Ananya Narayan: Our biggest strength is our commitment to innovation in ‘Better for You’ snacks and foods and transforming the company quickly to satisfy our customers’ ever-changing needs in the UAE and the rest of the world.
The Zone: What goals do you have for the company over the next three years?
Narayan: Our goal in the next three years is to triple sales, sell our products in over 50 countries and start a new state-of-the-art factory.
The Zone: When it comes to Hunter Foods, what are you most proud of?
Narayan: Our team. Success takes a winning team to make it happen.
Serving customers in almost 40 countries And on seven continents
The Zone: Often, especially in larger companies, people have little insight into what the Managing Director does on a day-to-day basis. How do you spend your day?
Narayan: I spend my time trying to work ‘on’ the business rather than ‘in’ the business. This is difficult at times, especially with the uncertainty at the moment. However, the goal is to think for tomorrow to make it easier for the team to achieve the goals for today.
The Zone: How do you keep your employees keen and motivated?
Narayan: I try to speak to them one-on-one as often as possible, especially in these difficult times when we have lost some of the face-to-face interactions to distant working environments and online communication. We are just starting a new platform, ‘Ask Ananya Any Questions’, which will make the communication between the team and me more transparent and ensure we are all on the same page.
The Zone: How has Covid-19 affected Hunter Foods, and how are you navigating its challenges?
Narayan: We have been less affected by Covid-19 since we had a major fire incident at our factory in April this year. Fortunately, no one was hurt. We had to quickly and immediately build an alternative production facility. We are now looking at building a new state-of-the-art factory to take ourselves to the next level in manufacturing. It would be something that we created/built during and post Covid-19 that we would be proud of for many years to come.
The Zone: How has Jafza assisted Hunter Foods over the years?
Narayan: We have been fortunate for having been located in Jafza and were the first factory to start operations there. Jafza has always been proactive in helping us to build our success as they see their success comes from the success of their partners.
“Our biggest strength is our commitment to innovation in ‘Better for You’ snacks and foods”Ananya Narayan, Managing Director, Hunter Foods
The Zone: What is the biggest benefit of being based in Jafza?
Narayan: The efficiency of Jebel Ali Port and the business mindedness of DP World. The speed at which we could send and receive containers helped us tremendously during the beginning of Covid-19. We take for granted the efficiency of the port, being able to get containers from when the ship is docked within hours, where it takes days or weeks in other countries. The location and the connectivity of Dubai allow many options to send and receive shipments from around the world. This helps us to increase our business by sending more containers faster to customers and receiving repeat orders more quickly too. With these efficiencies, we have been able to be competitive in selling snacks in countries as far away as Brazil.
The Zone: What does success look like for you?
Narayan: Success to us is a win-win-win-win formula. If we can keep our employees happy and with the right processes, we shall have a win with consumers. If we are able to win over our consumers, then there will be a win with our customers. If we win with the customers, we will have happy shareholders and partners. It is an all-around winning circle. It starts with getting the basics of business right, and the rest falls into place.
The Zone: What do you most value about Hunter Foods’ culture and vision?
Narayan: Much of our vision and culture comes from a quote from my grandfather’s diary, written to him by Albert Einstein: “Nothing is more important to man than man,” and everything we do starts with this. My grandfather and my father translated this into business in three guiding principles: honesty, sincerity and hard work. My wife and I have added to this direction by ensuring the importance and necessity of offering our customers, and ultimately consumers, ‘Better for You’ snacks and foods.