Organic & Real is an online platform that takes organic and healthy food choices to a global level. It is one of the largest organic online marketplace for ‘certified organic’, ‘natural’, ‘vegan’, ‘gluten free’ and ‘free from’ range of products. We interviewed the Founder & CEO, Manu Mahdi, and he had some insightful observations about the market.
What type of natural/organic products/services do you sell in the Middle East?
We want to make change the mindset of people, starting from the UAE, and eventually reaching 20 countries with a focus on Asia, in five years. Our main goal is creating awareness within the sector by teaching people that good food is the medicine they should have. All illnesses in today’s world are related to dangerous and harmful pesticides, GMOs and other such components in chemical-based food production.
In your opinion, how popular is the organic industry in the UAE and the Middle East?
What was seen as a fad before is changing, as people are now realizing the hard way that organic is the way to go. I visited the show last year during my project’s conceptual stage and will visit this year to source products.
Why, in your opinion, do people prefer buying organic nowadays?
We can see that there is a social change in the region with regards to organic. Chemicals in food products are causing chronic health issues now more than ever before. The industrial farming revolution of the past 20 years has caused this. People are becoming more aware of that fact and want to switch their lifestyle.
How do you determine the products to sell in this market?
We primarily look at all food items that falls under broadly three categories of products:
1) Certified organic, vegan, gluten free
2) “Free From” range, No GMO, No Nasties. These could be non-certified organic
3) Natural products
Our product categories are organic & healthy food items, environmentally friendly and sustainable non-food items (Cotton, Jute, Bamboo product, Personal Care, Skin Care products, etc). The more we grow, the more we will expand our range. We source products from local producers and from various parts of the world as well. As we aspire to become a global company, we want to include a global variety of products on our website.
Interviewed by Menaka Ramakrishnan, Buyer Manager