CREAM OF THE CROP

Qatar 2020 | AGRICULTURE | INTERVIEW

Dandy has invested in itself and Qatar to bring its customers affordable, local products while introducing new lines of business, even in the darkest hours of the blockage.

Sheikh Mansour Bin Mohammad Bin Jabor Al-Thani
BIOGRAPHY

Sheikh Mansour Bin Mahammad Bin Jabor Al Thani, the chairman of Dandy Company Limited, is a prominent business leader in Qatar, also serving in key leadership positions in multiple leading organizations. With an education background in business administration from the US and his business acumen, he has played a vital role in the growth and success of Dandy. His vision and guidance have helped Dandy become a leading brand in Qatar.

Dandy is one of the main dairy product producers in Qatar. What have been the main areas of focus, milestones, and products established by your company, and what is the current status of the retail sector in Qatar?
Since 1973, our focus has always been our commitment to serving the nation with quality products. At Dandy, we have been working hard to gain the trust of every household in this region to supply high-quality and great value products conveniently available at an affordable price point. As a brand, we aspire to be an effective catalyst in helping people come together over the sharing of food. Our latest investments in state-of-the-art production and distribution facilities, as well as a large fleet of delivery trucks, has helped us to further diversify our product range across the dairy, ice cream, and beverages category while gaining large market shares in each category. Meanwhile, Qatar's retail sector is growing in terms of space but many consumers are in the low-income expatriate workforce and are price sensitive. It has been a great challenge for us to keep up with the price war by competition, while continuously improving the quality of our products.

Since the blockade, Dandy has released new products such as Fresh Laban, launched a complete range of juices, and strengthened their ice cream portfolio. How did the blockade shape the strategy of your company?
The blockade provided us with an opportunity to support the nation when it needed it the most. We took it as a national responsibility to ensure that Qataris did not panic or despair because of lack of basic grocery supplies in the early days after blockade. Immediately, the cost of importing the raw material and packaging material escalated, but we kept our prices the same and ensured our high-quality products were affordable for everyone. Our teams worked hard around the clock to meet the demand. Tasks, like setting up new machinery lines, were completed in a record number of days rather than months. We had been working towards revamping our brand with new packaging and launches since the start of 2017, but, due to the blockade, everything became fast-tracked, and we launched every possible product needed in the market in a short time. At the same time, we also introduced an innovative new product called Bon Bon, which immediately became a market sensation that provided the people of Qatar with joy and pride. In short, the blockade taught us the importance of leadership, self-sustainability, and planning ahead.

Dandy has been exhibiting at the local Made in Qatar exhibition. How do you evaluate the potential of the initiative, its brands, and consequent products?
The Made in Qatar exhibition has provided local businesses with a platform to showcase the capabilities Qatar has and shown the world that Qatar can become a major international exporter of products and services. It has enabled many businesses to start exporting, as well as importing, better-quality raw material and packaging material at better prices.

What are some of the challenges for the company's international strategy?
Logistical costs to faraway countries have increased due to our land borders still being closed. Most of our products are of perishable nature, and, therefore, exporting dairy and juice products are a big challenge for us. Still, ice cream is our main focus in terms of expanding our international footprint.

What are your plans and expectations for 2020?
We plan to further expand our product range and maintain our high quality, in order to gain more market share and become the single most-recognized household name in Qatar. This is possible only by satisfying the quality and affordability expectations of our consumers, the Qatari citizens who have been a pillar of our success and the expat residents who have made Dandy a part of their daily lives.