It’s a date: Agthia plans to strengthen digitalisation and snacking innovation amid strong nine-month performance

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

Agthia has pledged to focus more investment into the digitalisation of its business as well as the creation of new snacking innovations. ©Agthia
Agthia has pledged to focus more investment into the digitalisation of its business as well as the creation of new snacking innovations. ©Agthia

Related tags Agthia digitalisation snacking

Middle Eastern food and beverage heavyweight Agthia has pledged to focus more investment into the digitalisation of its business as well as the creation of new snacking innovations in order to sustain the positive growth and profitability seen in the first nine months of 2023.

Agthia recently released its financial results for the first nine months of FY2023 ending September 2023, reporting a leap of 10.9% growth year-on-year in net revenue to AED3.27bn (US$890.3mn) and 12.7% net profit growth year-on-year to AED206mn (US$56.1mn).

The firm highlighted that these results had already adjusted for the currency crisis in Egypt, where devaluation had an impact of –AED287.4mn (US$78.2mn) – otherwise net revenue and net profits would have grown by a whopping 20.7% and 27.3% respectively.

“Agthia’s snacking segment saw growth of 52.2% year-on-year in Q3 FY2023 which was driven by strong performance in both domestic and international date markets,”​ Agthia CEO Alan Smith stated whilst announcing the financial results.

“The company plans to continue investing in innovation – in Q3 alone we had the Al Foah dates brand launch the Freakin Awesome whole and stuffed dates into UK and European retail channels, as well as develop new format and adjacent category products here in the UAE such as stuffed dates pouches and the biscuit category.

“Our BMB brand launched new premium and value chocolate brands targeting UAE and Saudi Arabian chocolatiers, expanding into new categories such as caramelised or choco nuts and choco dates) in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

“Abu Auf as well has launched new products such as the Protein Truffles and Spice Pouches to strengthen its position in Egypt and grow export volumes to the UAE – [so it can be seen] that innovation is in our lifeblood and will continue to play a vital role.”

In addition, the firm has signed a partnership with Microsoft to accelerate digital transformation within the company, with a particular focus on artificial intelligence adoption.

"Our work with Microsoft will play a pivotal role in Agthia’s ongoing digital transformation,”​ Smith added.

“The aim is to utilise these new tools to navigate the digital landscape and identify opportunities for market expansion, operational excellence and commercial success – whilst still accelerating innovation and responsible, sustainable business practices throughout the FMCG value chain”.

Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Agthia signed with Microsoft UAE, the scope of digital transformation covers the entire value chain from customer service to production, procurement, and employee engagement.

Key touchpoints of this project include the use of AI to enhance consumer experiences in the UAE such as in the firm’s existing Water Home Delivery Conteact Centre; utilising Microsoft solutions to create smart digital retail stores that will sell products such as its healthy snacks and coffee; as well as improving employee engagement and education.

“This transformative journey with Microsoft [will enable us] to offer consumers a truly personalised experience,”​ Agthia Chief Digital Officer Vanderlei Santos added.

“Consistent with our five-year growth strategy, this underlines our commitment to becoming a consumer data-driven organisation.”

Sustainability in the Middle East

Given the region’s desert terrain and dry landscape, a lot of focus has been on water and ingredient supply when it comes to sustainability initiatives and management the big firms.

“During these past nine months we have successfully reduced Agthia’s water usage ratio by 8.6%,”​ the firm announced.

“Other initiatives to reduce carbon dioxide emissions have included launching the first locally sourced and produced 100% rPET water bottle [in this region] as well as reducing the energy ratio consumption in Grand Mills and Al Ain through a real-time smart energy monitoring system and the installation of solar panelling across other sites.

“The aim is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 11,000tn (15% of our total emissions) over the next three years.”

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