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Five Minutes With.. Dr. Ahmed El Tigani, GM, Al Rawabi

Five Minutes With.. Dr. Ahmed El Tigani, GM, Al Rawabi

UAE dairy company Al Rawabi is looking to address key health concerns in the UAE, says general manager Dr. Ahmed El Tigani.

Where is Al Rawabi focusing its product lines this year?

Al Rawabi is always looking to innovate and develop new products. The aim is not only to grow and stay ahead in a fiercely competitive market, but moreover to win over customers and increase our consumer base. We are currently the largest dairy in the UAE, with a herd of 12,000 cows at our extensive farm at Al Khawaneej.

Our business focus is on the functional food market, which we entered in 2010 with the probiotic bacteria Robivia range as well as our enriched laban product Nutreeboost and Omega 3 fortified milk. We strongly believe that this is the way forward for our sector and therefore are continuing to invest in extensive research to develop products that will help address key health issues in the UAE.

What are some of the health issues you are aiming to address?

The UAE is witnessing a rising number of health issues brought about by a fast-paced and highly urban lifestyle. Hypertension, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular concerns and low immune systems and vitamin D deficiency are some of the major ones that we at Al Rawabi are attempting to address.

After extensive product research and development, Super Milk was conceived, which includes five added vitamins and nutrients to help combat these health concerns. Of the health concerns I just mentioned, Super Milk is primarily attempting to address vitamin D deficiency, which according to recent studies is a condition that affects one in three people in the UAE. Vitamin D is essentially a steroid hormone needed for absorption of calcium and phosphors in our blood. It is essential for good overall health especially strong and healthy bones. Experts say that in order for the body to get enough vitamin D, there needs to be direct exposure to the sunlight for at least an hour every day. Alternatively consuming a minimum of six sardines every day would achieve the required daily allowance of vitamin D. However, both these methods are not practical. especially in the UAE.hence residents have to resort to getting vitamin D from supplements.

Does more need to be done in the UAE to ensure people get enough vitamins and minerals?

Most definitely. A lot more can and should be done to help the people of the UAE get their recommended daily intake of essential vitamins and nutrients. As a dairy business based in the UAE, we are trying to focus our research and development on products that will address the UAE’s specific health concerns. We invested Dhs2 million and over three years of research before launching Super Milk and we have other health products planned for the future.

What trends are you noticing in the wider dairy category?

In the dairy industry, scientific research is playing an increasingly important role in improving the quality of products. Functional food with the added health benefits also continues to be a prevalent trend both globally and in the last couple of years, in the UAE as well.

In general, the dairy sector is growing at a healthy pace and is becoming quite a competitive market. As a result, the products that are being churned out are fast evolving to meet the highest quality standards.

Does Al Rawabi have any expansion plans?

Al Rawabi is currently in the planning stages to build a new dairy farm in the UAE. In addition there are plans to expand our distribution and reach into the Oman and Qatar markets in the near future.

Will you be hiring this year?

Absolutely, we are always hiring people as we are continually investing and growing our business.

What is your leadership style?

I believe in empowering the management team, allowing them to take part in decision-making and assume greater responsibility and ownership for their respective functions.

What makes the perfect employee?
The commitment and dedication of Al Rawabi’s employees are integral ingredients in the success of the business. Hence we believe in investing in our people to ensure they are happy and feel a part of what we are trying to achieve here.

Define success in five words…

Success is consistently achieving goals

Three tips for becoming the boss…

• Take the time to listen to the concerns of team members.
• Setting realistic goals and providing team members with the right resources to achieve them.
• Empowering team members to make their own decisions while always maintaining a robust system of accountability.

In my spare time I like to…

I like to spend my free time with my family.

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