Distributing delicious and indulgent premium snacks to over 60 countries, Hunter Foods has grown to become a leading manufacturer of better-for-you and gourmet snacks
Headquartered in the region’s largest free zone Jafza and operational since 1986, Hunter Foods grew steadily and consistently in the early decades of its launch. By 2014, the company had reached an inflection point that led to rapid, multifold growth.
The company has since then doubled its revenue and captured newer markets from Dubai.
Its expansion plans, combined with an impressive market strategy, promise more robust growth in the next three years. Managing Director Ananya Narayan talks about the company’s stellar growth and shares the recipe to their success.
Doing things ‘differently’
Hunter Foods manufactures and distributes everything from hand-cooked potato chips to vegetable, pretzel, quinoa, protein chips, and rice crackers.
The company also packs superfoods and works directly with farmers in countries such as Peru. “We distribute granola from Wales, oats from Ireland, and biscuits from Scotland and offer a complete alternative snacks solution to our customers.
Our crisps and truffle collections are particular favourites. Our black truffle does really well in Japan, which is one of our core markets in Asia,” said Narayan.
In a short span of time, Hunter Foods has become one of the top five brands of snacks in Japan. Over the last year, the company successfully cemented its presence in international markets such as Japan, through mouthwatering snacks. “It’s something we’re very proud of,” she added.
“We changed our strategy and started building brands with a deep focus on innovation. Hunter’s Gourmet is one such brand that allowed us to create special, better-for-you, and gourmet products that our health-conscious customers were craving.”
The company has introduced a wide range of flavours outside of its classic offerings. These include wasabi, turmeric, Quattro formaggi, pesto parmesan, and its top customer favourites such as Black Truffle, Black Truffle with Parmesan, White Truffle, White Truffle with Porcini.
Its Middle Eastern range is also very popular and offers super-hit regional flavours such as Shawarma, Shakshouka, and Fattoush. More recently, Hunter Foods also launched black caviar under its Platinum Selection.
Serving five continents
Another reason for Hunter Foods’ massive growth has been the UAE’s location between Europe, Asia and Africa. “Thanks to the Emirates’ unique placement on the world map, we are able to quickly and seamlessly deliver our products to around 70 per cent of the world’s population.
We currently distribute our products across five continents. Asia is where the majority of our exports go. From Japan and Korea to the Philippines and Thailand, Hunter Foods has successfully captured all these markets. We also export to markets as far away as Brazil, the USA and Australia,” stated Narayan.
“Jafza’s efficiencies during the pandemic allowed us to double our export markets as well as revenue at the height of THE PANDEMIC.”
A UAE success story
When the world came to a standstill due to the pandemic, Hunter Foods continued its upward growth trajectory and successfully captured newer markets from the heart of Dubai.
“Jafza, where Hunter Foods is headquartered, isn’t just a free zone. It specialises in the business of ‘conducting trade’. And that has helped us immensely. During COVID-19, the Jebel Ali Port that is in close proximity to Jafza did not close down for even a single day.
This gave us access to bigger markets and literally doubled the number of countries we were serving during the last two years.”
Jafza‘s partnership has been vital for Hunter Foods on several fronts. The free zone’s world-class infrastructure and the port’s capabilities have allowed Hunter Foods to competitively, safely, and securely distribute its products in different markets regardless of global supply chain disruptions.
Narayan revealed, “The speed at which we sent and received containers helped us tremendously during this time. We were able to get containers within hours of a ship’s docking, something which would take anywhere from several days to weeks in other countries. This enabled us to send more containers, much faster and also receive repeat orders quicker. These efficiencies became major factors that allowed us to double our export markets from 30 to 60 during the pandemic.”
The company owes a major portion of its success to its robust e-commerce strategy and its wide network of distributors. Hunter Foods is working to triple its growth over the next three years by focusing on its key markets which include the UAE, Japan and Saudi Arabia. Part of their strategy is to build a new facility in National Industrial Park with four times the capacity of the current factory. “Dubai is synonymous with luxury and quality. And we will continue to live up to that,” concludes Narayan.