Kibsons International LLC is one of the market leaders in the fruit, vegetable, meat and poultry sectors. They have been in the industry for over 30 years. We interviewed David Prokopiak, procurement manager. Here are his views.
What natural/organic products do you import into the Middle East?
Kibsons imports a wide range of organic fresh produce into the UAE from many different continents and suppliers. We are also proud supporters of local organic produce and work closely with the largest organic farm in the UAE, Mawasim Organic. Kibsons has also recently started to import and/or stock a wide range of chilled and ambient products which include organic dairy, meat, seafood, eggs, honey, snacks, coffee, drinks, pasta and spices.
What’s the average volume? Are these for retail or re-export? If re-export which are the major markets you send it to?
Kibsons has been a wholesaler of fresh produce in the UAE market and the Middle East for more than 30 years. Today we distribute large volumes of local and imported organic fresh produce and other organic items into the wholesale market as well as to our HoReCa, retail and ecommerce customers in the UAE.
Do you have private label products?
Yes, Kibsons works closely with certain African organic farms with whom we have developed a private label.
Can you tell me about the demand for organic products in the region? What is the latest trend that you see in organic products?
Kibsons has witnessed a growing demand for organic products across all categories especially fresh produce. Customers want more variety in every category and respond very well to our growing range. UAE customers are becoming more price sensitive and the relative price point of organic produce is becoming increasingly important. Customers are generally prepared to pay a fair premium for organic products however there is often a point that this premium becomes prohibitive. Kibsons aims to offer good quality, good value and convenience across our organic range to ultimately make organic products more accessible to the masses.
Where do you import your products from, and how much of a role does certification play in your decision? What are your main challenges in sourcing?
Kibsons imports organic products from many continents including Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and the Middle East. We work strictly with products that have either EU or USDA organic certifications as they are widely trusted and meet the expectations of our many customers. The main challenge we face with regards to fresh produce is a lack of consistency and variety to satisfy the tastes of our many different customers 365 days of the year.
From where and/or what products would you like to source more?
Kibsons are constantly looking for new products and new opportunities to develop our organic offering. We are largely driven by our customer feedback and if there is sufficient demand, we will look to satisfy that with healthy, high quality, fresh products.
How do you use Middle East Organic Expo as a sourcing platform?
Kibsons have visited The Middle East Organic and Natural Product Expo on previous occasions to network with industry stakeholders, identify new trends and look for potential new partners from around the globe.
Interviewed by Menaka Ramakrishnan, Buyer Manager