Feb. 23, 2016


Karim Chouman

Kuwait

Karim Chouman

General Business Manager, Nestlé in Kuwait

BIO

Karim Chouman is the General Business Manager of Nestlé Kuwait, leading an organization of over 250 employees. In his current role, he aims to drive the Nestlé business in Kuwait with a focus on developing strong routes to the market, driving category growth and building talent from within. He joined Nestlé Middle East in 2007 and became the head of key accounts in 2012 managing regional customers for Nestlé across the Middle East. In this role, his focus was to strengthen Nestlé’s key accounts expertise, develop winning strategies and enhance customer relationships. He has more than 10 years’ experience in the FMCG industry and has worked in different countries including KSA, Kuwait, and UAE, holding various roles from modern trade channel management, trade marketing and sales. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from the American University of Beirut.

What are your objectives to take Nestlé in Kuwait to the next level?

Our global mission is to enhance quality of life with good food and beverages everywhere. In the Middle East, we strive to do that by offering an array of tasty and healthy products that meet local needs for quality, taste and pleasure—while addressing specific nutritional requirements to help achieve healthy and balanced diets across all life stages and at all times of the day.

What trends do you identify in the Kuwaiti market?

Kuwaiti consumers have been enjoying their Nestlé brands such as Nestlé NIDO, Nescafé Coffee, and confectionery brands since the 1950s. Sales of coffee products have been the main contributor to growth. The latest additions of the innovative Nescafé Arabiana, launched locally in 2014 and Nescafé Dolce Gusto, are also fast becoming local favorites. Nescafé Arabiana is the first instant soluble Arabic Coffee, which reduces the long process of preparing of the traditional Arabic Coffee to seconds, which is popular with GCC consumers. Another product is Nescafé Dolce Gusto, is a multi-beverage system, for a variety of coffees from cappuccinos to espressos to macchiato. When it comes to confectionery, we also introduced the Kit Kat Mini Moments.

What is your understanding of the local taste profile in the Gulf, and how is Nestlé catering to that?

Nestlé's heritage in the Middle East goes back over 80 years. We have our 60/40+ Program that constantly re-challenges our products to ensure they are preferred by at least 60% of local consumers of a large panel. We continuously renovate our product portfolio to meet the taste and pleasure needs of consumers, in addition to meeting the strict Nestlé Nutritional Foundation criteria.

How is Nestlé promoting nutrition, health, and wellness in the Gulf?

Nestlé understands the health challenges of the region and ensures our products cater to the latest nutrition recommendations for healthy living. In June this year, Nestlé was the first multinational company to publish forward-looking commitments to society in the Middle East, with the unveiling of the first regional “Nestlé in Society - Creating Shared Value” (CSV) report. It also covers 20 commitments published with specific objectives, which Nestlé aims to fulfill by 2017 or earlier, in the areas of nutrition, responsible sourcing, water, environmental sustainability, people, and compliance. In the Middle East, where under-nutrition and obesity exist side by side, the regional report's commitments focus on leading the industry in nutrition and health research, and providing nutritionally sound products designed for children to nurture healthier generations. Out of the 20 commitments, 11 focus on nutrition. Specific commitments promote healthy diets and lifestyles, mainly through the Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme – Ajyal Salima, developed by the American University of Beirut and now in three countries in the region (UAE, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Jordan) where it has reached over 16,000 children to date, further provide nutritionally sound products designed for children, with three new products set to be launched by the end of 2015; help reduce the risk of under-nutrition through micronutrient fortification, by providing 8.6 billion fortified food servings in the Middle East by the end of 2015, compared to 8 billion in 2014; promote healthy hydration; and ensure responsible marketing communication to children. More recently, in October 2015, Nestlé Middle East, MBC Al Amal, and the Arabian Radio Network joined forces to launch United for Healthier Kids (U4HK), with an invitation to everyone to join the movement and contribute towards healthier children. U4HK aims to help parents establish healthier eating, drinking and lifestyle habits for children aged four to 12, and offers game-changing education and fun ideas to inspire action and influence behavior.

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