E-Organic Market, an up and coming online store in Saudi Arabia, will offer a broad spectrum of organic and natural products such as food, beverages, skincare collections and dietary supplements. They are also venturing into holistically healthy products which are gluten-free, dairy-free and drug-free.
Mona Fatallah, store owner of e-Organic Market, tells us about her new company, and why organic is catching up in Saudi Arabia.
What natural/organic products do you import into the Middle East?
We import a variety of healthy and wholesome products that include food, beverages, dietary supplements, skin care as well as hair care – almost everything, in fact, due to an increase in consumer awareness.
Can you tell me about the demand for organic products in the region? What is the latest trend that you see in organic products?
According to the General Authority of Statistics, the total number of food retail stores is projected to reach 50,000 in Saudi Arabia and the total consumption of organic and health food products are expected to reach more than $27 billion by 2019. In regard to trends, I noticed that people nowadays are shifting from traditional grocery shopping to organic and natural products and produce.
Why should people go organic according to you?
People should go organic for a couple of reasons, one of which is to live allergy-free since organic farming is known to be fertilizer-free, pesticide-free. People with food allergy tend to feel a lot better when they consume only organic food. Second, organic farming protects the environment. Such methods require no chemicals and fertilizers. As such, production costs can be reduced. However, today with such high a demand of organic products and only a few players in organic farming – organic food is considered quite expensive for the consumer.
Where do you import your products from, and how much of a role does certification play in your decision?
As a startup today, I don’t import myself yet and I have an open credit with local Saudi suppliers who in turn, import from various parts of the world. In regard to certification by law, such categories should meet a certain standard and nothing can be sold in the Saudi market without (SFDA) Saudi Food and Drug Authority Certification. The same is required from products brought in from USA, Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, Thailand, China, Serbia, Egypt, Pakistan and some of the countries my suppliers import from.
What are your main challenges in sourcing?
I believe that time management and delivery are the main challenges with sourcing, considering the shelf life each product.
From where and/or what products would you like to source more?
I would love to see organic makeup and cosmetics from France.
Interviewed by Menaka Ramakrishnan, Buyer Manager