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How can you gain a competitive edge during a crisis?

#UAE | 29 July, 2021

The last two years have been a unique time for almost everyone and every country in the world. We all witnessed the outbreak of Coronavirus that no one saw coming. It brought about many challenges, economical and financial losses, and other issues in many countries, including the UAE. Many businesses had to go through financial losses and had to revamp themselves in order to overcome the resulting obstacles, like economic downturn and supply chain disruptions. One of the industries that were severely affected by this is the FMCG industry.

As one of the leading food distributors in the UAE, we can confidently say that we managed to not only overcome the obstacles with immediate risk mitigation measures and operational changes but also managed to gain a competitive edge. Many food distributors in the UAE had to modify their marketing strategies and operations in order to adapt to the new normal.

There were various FMCG trends that came into existence after the outbreak. As people stayed indoors due to social distancing, many people started taking up new hobbies, one of which was cooking. Many people started learning how to cook in the pandemic, which led us to understand that people would rather cook food than order, so we marketed the concept of making healthier dishes with healthier ingredients. We highlighted and marketed our products that are supposed to be healthier ingredients for cooking, like gluten-free products, cholesterol-free Mayo, and healthy cooking oil.

People who did not want to cook were either going for take-aways or eating canned or frozen goods. So, we ensured that the increasing demand for canned or frozen food items, long-life milk, and other household items was met by the increased supply. Food distributors in the UAE couldn't source products from several countries due to lockdown restrictions, so the focus on local food production or local suppliers increased significantly.

Food delivery outlets also hired more people to make sure all the food parcels are delivered on time, without any inconvenience. People looked for tags like 100% natural, organic, and healthy on the packaging of their food products because they started looking for healthier products. They are now more concerned about their health and more responsible towards the environment. So, we marketed our healthy products and introduced new product categories, to diversify our offerings, including products like easy, quick treats and products that protect you from germs. Basically, anything that would contribute to their healthy lifestyle and would encourage them to keep it going was marketed or highlighted.

The concept of opting for a healthy lifestyle was also paid a lot of attention to, as it was also the right path to take and we, at Al Maya trading, took immense pride in delivering what people wanted.

So, as you can see, there are many challenges that a business faces during a crisis. What matters is whether they are prepared to implement the measures required to deal with a crisis like COVID-19 positively. Here are some ways to drive long-term usage and enhance sales growth in the FMCG industry:

  • Promote products that go well with people's current lifestyle by offering innovation
  • Acquire new customers by introducing new categories
  • Focus on local retailers and products

All it takes is just a little bit of patience and thorough planning to come up with risk mitigation strategies that can help you to overcome obstacles resulting from a crisis. So, it is always good to be equipped enough to implement sudden changes in your operations, if you are running a food business. The implemented solutions still continue to impact the lifestyle of people in the UAE. They're more aware of what they are eating and they are healthier than ever before. What has majorly changed is the way people consume. People are way more responsible now in terms of what they are eating and more consistent when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle.

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