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Exclusive: Dubai-Based Chocodate Maker Plans Major Expansion

The company is currently in talks to export the product to the US, UK, Japan, Brazil and Russia, among other countries.

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Dubai-based Notions Group, which produces the popular Chocodate, is currently in talks to export the product across the world, its owner and managing director has revealed.

“At the moment, we export Chocodate to around 35 countries,” Fawaz Masri told Gulf Business. “Our intention is to go everywhere. We are currently in talks with the US, UK, Japan, Canada, Russia, China, Iraq, Sudan, Yemen and Brazil,” he said.

“We have very high demand for Chocodate – it caught the attention of people all over the world because we are the pioneers of the product. People are seeking the product because they love the taste, the packaging and they think it is unique,” he added.

Notions Group has operations in Dubai and Saudi Arabia, and apart from Chocodate, also manufactures Ronda chocolates, the XL and Fiesta brands of potato chips, Amigo tortilla chips and a range of gourmet chocolates.

However, Chocodate, created by Masri in 1991, took 12 years to develop and is the company’s most popular product, currently enjoying 90 per cent of the marketshare for its range in the region.

“We have no competition for it from multinationals. Regionally, other companies have tried to imitate us and create their own versions of chocolate-covered, almond stuffed dates, but unfortunately for them, they couldn’t come up with the same combination,” he said.

“We are holding many talks across the world and trying to find the right partner particularly for Chocodate because it requires a special way of introduction in the market,” Masri added.

Notions Group is currently investing about $10 million in expanding its manufacturing units in Dubai and Saudi Arabia to create space for future growth. Both the facilities are expected to be ready by the end of this year.

The factory in Saudi, which handles the company’s snack foods division, will double in size from 50,000 sqft to 100,000sqft. “Mainly it will be for adding more capacity and adding more categories in snackfoods and dedicating a special area for a very sophisticated logistical handling of our export activities,” explained Masri.

Although in the snack foods section, the company is concentrating on meeting regional demand, they will respond to international demand as and when it arises, he said.

“A unique reason why we are demanded in international countries is because our chips factory is in Saudi Arabia and the product has the seal of halal. Many Muslims feel more comfortable to have a product coming from Saudi because they feel that it will not have pork in it,” he stated.

The company expects to post 30 per cent growth in 2013 and witness a 50 per cent growth in operations by 2014 mainly because of additional capacity.

“With companies our size with products that have very big marketsizes, if we do the right job, introduce the right product with the right packaging, the right quality and the right pricing, we have a very quick chance to grow because the market – local, regional and international – is quite big.”

link source : http://gulfbusiness.com/2013/03/exclusive-dubai-based-chocodate-maker-plans-major-expansion/#.UTbf0VeGMyY