QATAR – Baladna, Qatar’s leading food and dairy producer, has entered an agreement with french cheese and snack giant, Bel Group, which will see Baladna manufacturing Bel’s products in Qatar.

The companies intend to kick-start the manufacturing agreement with the production of The Laughing Cow cheese this year with Baladna aiming to make more of Bel’s products in the near future.

This collaboration brings about new opportunities for both companies with the french giant describing it as “an exciting step forward in our presence in the Middle Eastern Gulf”.

Baladna’s production of popular products by international brands such as Bel reduces imports and makes the food in supermarkets less vulnerable to supply chain disruptions.

It also provides a more responsible, high-quality and environmentally-conscious option for Qatari consumers.

Malcolm Jordan, Chief Executive Officer of Baladna, remarked, “We are pleased to enter into this agreement with Bel Group, who are world leaders in cheese products.

Baladna is based north of Doha, Qatar’s capital, and has three factories that manufacture dairy products, juices and packaging.

In 2021, the company generated revenue of QAR773 million (US$212.4M), a 2%  increase from the previous year. Its net profit however declined by 5% to QAR134 million (US$ 36.8M).

The company currently exports its dairy and juice products across the gulf region, including to Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Oman.

According to Malcolm Jordan, Baladna is a leading dairy brand in Qatar and is committed to supporting food sustainability efforts in the country.

“We are excited to benefit from Bel Group’s unparalleled know-how as we look to expand our range of dairy products and make international brands more accessible in the Qatari market. We believe this partnership will have a positive impact on the dairy industry in Qatar and improve consumer choices,” Mr Jordan said.

As for the Bel Group, this partnership will help reduce supply chain disruptions as well because the milk used for cheese production will be sourced from Baladna’s local farms.

This will lead to the reduction of transport costs and ultimately contribute to the reduction of Bel’s carbon footprint.

The CEO of Bel’s Near and Middle East reporting region, Garo Matossian, said, “This strategic partnership with Baladna in Qatar is an exciting step forward in our presence in the Middle Eastern Gulf, in line with our mission to deliver healthier and responsible food for all.

By combining their expertise with our delicious cream cheese, and our knowledge of cheese products, this partnership will enable us to offer consumers, delicious, nutritious and accessible cheese products, and become a leader in the region’s fast-growing dairy market.”

Bel has not yet published its 2022 financial results but, in 2021, its revenues from across the Middle East and “greater Africa” were EUR615 million (US$648.8M), down from EUR679 million (US$720M) the year before.

Group revenues were recorded at EUR3.38 billion (US$3.59) in 2021.

For all the latest food industry news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel.