By ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN
The partnership between the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama) and Lembaga Tabung Haji’s subsidiary TH Global Services Sdn Bhd will see a selection of halal goods being exported to Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf countries within the next three years.
The two parties launched their first delivery of 14 stock keeping units (SKUs), comprising pre-mixed spices worth RM1 million, are expected to arrive in Jeddah on June 28.
The food items will cater to some 30,000 Malaysian haj pilgrims anticipated to arrive for this year’s pilgrimage season, offering wayfarers an array of local delicacies at twelve TH Global kitchens in both Mecca and Medina.
Fama DG Datuk Ahmad Ishak said the partnership will be carried out in several phases with the first solely to accommodate muasassah haj pilgrims. The second and third parts, which will be introduced subsequently, include ready-to-eat meals on vending machines and sales at hypermarkets.
Under the three-year agreement, both Fama and TH Global aim to reach a RM7.5 million sales target from food catering services, vending machines and retail channels.
“We hope to expand our sales through vending machines and hypermarkets in the coming years as well as to add the number of SKUs being sent over. Our main target market group would be the pilgrims and consumers in Saudi Arabia and across the Middle East,” Ahmad told reporters at the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signing ceremony in Selayang, Selangor, yesterday.
TH Global CEO Adly Mohamed said the 14 SKUs — consisting of pre-mixed drinks, frozen cakes and food pastes — would be able to produce 28 different menus.
“The range provided is to meet the taste of Malaysians in Saudi Arabia who are doing their haj and umrah. For TH Global, our two priorities lie in food safety and flavour. With these pre-mixed products, it would be a lot more convenient for us to concoct locally flavoured meals for the pilgrims,” Adly said.
TH Global, with over 50 years of brand presence, is well-recognised in the Middle East for their proficient administration of pilgrims from Malaysia. As such, Adly said the venture into the region market is in line with that marque.
“We see the Middle East as a platform to jump start Malaysian halal exports globally. We will begin there and later move on to Europe, which severely lacks halal products,” he added.
However, Adly said local entrepreneurs must meet the requirement and food standards of the international market in order to penetrate the global market.
“We need to make sure that our entrepreneurs create products that are certified at the highest level. Our aim is to get all the goods to have the HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) certification as soon as possible. Once they have that label, the products can be marketed anywhere around the world,” he said.