QOOT Cluster in collaboration with the Embassy of Lebanon to the State of Kuwait, organized a webinar on Wednesday, October 20, 2021, titled “Opportunities between Kuwait and Lebanon” to introduce Lebanese exporters to the Kuwaiti market.
Through QOOT Cluster, the Embassy of Lebanon to the State of Kuwait initiated the creation of linkages between buyers and distributors, and showed their dedication to support Lebanese producers to participate in future Kuwaiti exhibitions and fairs showcasing Lebanese products. Leading distributors, traders, and retailers in Kuwait joined the discussion and shared with more than 80 participants, practical tips, guidance, and recommendations on how to develop an export and sales strategy to enter Kuwait’s market. Mr. Bassem Salloum, Founder & Manager at LAYLA Lebanese Gourmet, focused on the existing opportunities for small producers as gourmet shops are currently booming in Kuwait and getting high demands. Mr. Mohamed Kassabieh, Commercial Manager at CARREFOUR Kuwait, stated that the listing of products depends a lot on the demand of the consumers.
Tips on accessing Kuwait’s market
Mr. Antoine Obeid, Regional Managing Director & Partner of Farmland, highlighted the fact that Kuwait is a demanding market in terms of standardization and high-quality products, as all products entering the Kuwait market should meet the International Trade Administration requirements. When it comes to agri-food products’ trends, organic produce is high in demand in Kuwait. Consumers, became more educated and concerned about their health and what they eat, hence very picky, refusing high processed foods with various additives, and demanding natural, delicious, and healthy products.
However, the listing fee to enter the Kuwait market is costly. Therefore, the producers should prepare a structured go to market strategy and be aware of each step of the process. Mr. Hani Merhi, CEO of AL BABTAIN GROUP shared the procedure on how to assess the Kuwait market:
- A general overview on the economy is eminent, how the market is going, understanding the challenges, and the market’s demand.
- Clear knowledge on the trade environments: the Kuwait environment encounters a COOP challenge, resulting in an ‘unorganized state’ of trade. This represents around 60% of the FMCG business. Therefore, companies must learn how to work with these COOPs and work rationally, to think of what is in for the distributor, producer, and most importantly the consumer.
- Follow the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) standard organization, the allowed food items, label requirements, public authority for food and nutrition, with a main objective of monitoring the company’s needs to make sure to comply with all the requirements.
- Selection of the right distributor partner. Distributors should be convinced about the product concept. Adapt the story telling technique, and the sentimental approach to justify to the distributor the need behind the product. In addition, the company should have financial stability in order to build the capability to navigate around the market.
- Put a proper launch plan for a proper value chain.
Two additional activities will follow this informative webinar, allowing attendees to further develop their knowledge of the Kuwaiti Market. The first activity will be a webinar covering Lebanese Products dedicated to Lebanese agri-food businesses that are part of the QOOT Cluster. The companies with high potential for export to Kuwait will be selected to pitch their products to distributors, traders, and retailers from Kuwait. The second activity will arrange a Business Matchmaking event at the Embassy of Lebanon to the State of Kuwait with the selected Lebanese companies and potential partners in Kuwait. The aim is to create cooperative connections and realize business opportunities that mutually benefit both parties. The purpose of matchmaking is to connect companies and people with common business interests, complementary services, expertise, and technologies.