First established in 2005, Slim Secrets sells protein bars, protein bars with collagen, chocolate blended with nuts, and protein puddings.
According to the company, there was a growing trend for healthy snacks such as protein bars in the Middle East, largely driven by the expats and international community in UAE.
The trend was already seen in places like Australia, Europe, and North America over the last 15 years, but it was only about eight years ago when Slim Secrets saw a demand for such products and exported there with the help of a consolidator.
Previously its products were sold mainly through the ZOOM convenience store channel in UAE and the Trolley convenience store chain in Kuwait.
However, the firm is now working directly with distributors and has succeeded in stocking 10 SKUs from its protein bar range in retail giant Carrefour.
It also recently partnered with online platform Noon.com, entered Saudi Arabia via retailers Manuel and the Danube supermarket chain, while in Qatar it is available at Lulu and in Oman at The Sultan Center.
It is also in the process of discussions with distributors in Kuwait.
Jamie Thurin, Slim Secrets international sales director, told FoodNavigator-Asia: “Kuwait is a very lucrative market for protein. They are very passionate about healthy snacking, protein, gym and exercise. We used to have a really big market over there and we're really hoping to build that market again.”
Slim Secrets aims to enter Kuwait this year, through supermarkets, e-commerce and health stores.
According to Thurin, the company also hopes to bring other products including the ready-to-eat puddings and chocolate items into Middle East.
Although he cited freight as a challenge, ase these items need to be temperature controlled and required a reefer container.
“Our aim is to build our range in Carrefour in Dubai, before potentially importing an entire container which will allow us to ship more products.”
Despite the pandemic, Slim Secrets sales grew 15% year-on-year, mostly contributed by its domestic market while export sales dropped.
In Australia, it has a presence in major supermarket chains Coles and Woolworths, as well as online platforms which helped secured sales during the lockdowns.
Exports sales used to make up about 20% of its business, and the company expects to increase this to 30% with its expansion into Middle East and Asia this year.
Outside of Australia and New Zealand, the Middle East and Japan are its biggest export markets.
Slim Secrets also exports to China, Singapore, Hong Kong, and newer markets including Peru, South Korea, and Taiwan.
According to Thurin, the trend for healthy snacks such as protein bars will continue to accelerate, particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When people were working from home, they had more time to think about their health and well-being, and consciously ate more nutritionally balanced meals.
“As they start going back to offices and lives get busier again, they're going to have less time to cook nutritionally balanced meals at home, so I think they're going to be more dependent on healthy snacking and protein bars.”
All of Slim Secrets products are manufactured in Australia with locally sourced as well as imported ingredients.