Al Foah plans concept stores for dates

One of the world's largest date companies is now planning to set up a unique chain of concept stores for dates across the globe to promote the favourite fruit of Arabia.

Al Foah Company, under the General Holding Corporation, Abu Dhabi, and the largest date procuring and processing company in the UAE, is planning to launch the chain of date concept stores worldwide to promote the consumption of branded dates and increase awareness about UAE dates.

The company, formed by the Abu Dhabi Government in 2005, claims to be the largest date company in the world and exports 90 per cent of the dates it procures from UAE farmers in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, Fujairah and other emirates.

A company official told Emirates Business: "The Al Foah chain of date concept stores will showcase several varieties of UAE dates and derived products, such as date chocolates, date bars, juices and other value added products. The company will use the outlets to sell some indulgent products that can be made of dates like cakes, tarts, jams or ice cream. The design of these stores will reflect the heritage and culture of Abu Dhabi."

About 74,000 tonnes of dates are currently procured and processed in a year from around 17,000 farmers in the UAE. The company plans to launch branded date products in China and India, two large markets identified through market studies. Business plans have also been charted out to introduce a number of value added date products in the international market. The company was formed to rationalise farm subsidies and makes the UAE date farms commercially viable and internationally competitive.

"We plan to launch retail sales of dates across the Chinese market, for which we need a lot more dates. There are very few palm trees in China. Plans are there to start cultivating or acquiring date palm farms in neighbouring countries. The company currently has 132 hectares of date farms. Al Foah Farm in Al Ain City and its date factories and facilities include the Emirates Date Factory, Al Saad, with an annual capacity of 50,000 tonnes; Al Marafa Dates Factory with an annual capacity of 25,000 tonnes; and dates receiving centres in Abu Dhabi," said the official.

The firm supplies bulk dates in 25kg and 50kg packages for food producers in China and the new plan is to launch retail sales of date products at suitable prices and modern for that market.

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