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Al Sayegh to expand food and beverage business

Dubai: Al Sayegh Group plans to expand its food and beverage business this year, according to the company’s top official. It also aims to boosting its revenue from the segment to Dh700 million over the next five to seven years.

The distributor of LG products in the UAE is set to open cafés, a restaurant and more outlets under Yoku Moku, a Japan-based confectionary brand, Mansour Al Sayegh, the company’s group executive director, told Gulf News in an interview.

The luxury confectionary brand Yoku Moku, which sells chocolate-covered biscuits, among others, is targeted at medium to high-income consumers.

Prices start from Dh110 for a standard box and can reach Dh495. Products are also customisable, which can cost consumers thousands of dirhams.

“[Yoku Moku] is something that we don’t have competition to in an elite type of confectionary market in the UAE,” Al Sayegh said.

While some analysts have said the overall food and beverage market in the UAE is saturated, Al Sayegh says the market for confectionary goods is not. “It’s tough to break into,” he added.

There are at least 20 manufacturing companies in Dubai that produce sweets, chocolates and biscuits.

Consumer spending has been steadily rising in the UAE, from Dh668 billion in 2012 to Dh715 billion in 2013, due to improved optimism and non-stop retail expansion, among other factors, according to Euromonitor International data. As of 2012, Dubai accounted for more than half (57 per cent) of the total consumer spend in the country.

Nine Yoku Moku outlets have been rolled out since 2012 by the group’s retail arm, Alsa lifestyle, with plans to open 17 more in the UAE before the end of the year. The company has distribution rights for the Middle East and North Africa.

At least five outlets are set to open in Dubai, with two in Sharjah, five in Abu Dhabi, two in Al Ain and one each in Ajman, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah.

Yoku Moku confectionary goods are also expected to be sold at Dubai Duty Free this year.

Next on the agenda are Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman, which are likely to see at least one Yoku Moku outlet this year.

The company plans to have 100 Yoku Moku outlets across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries over the next five years.

Also, there are plans to open a high-end Japanese café called Mikado Café in Abu Dhabi and a Mikado Bakery in Dubai’s Al Wasl Square before the end of the year, as well as an Indian restaurant, Tumiric, in Abu Dhabi’s Marina Mall.

Al Sayegh is in talks with UK and Ireland-based food and beverage companies to bring in products under its Flamingo Catering division.