Our eyes were as wide as Oreos this week as one of the world’s largest snack companies opened a plant the size of 30 football pitches in Bahrain.
A fast-growing population and increased consumer spending means that the Middle East is projected to be the fastest-growing snacking market in the world in the coming years.
Making and distributing Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) across the region is a big business opportunity – and companies are keen to find the best solution to help them unlock it.
Fast trade links, low operating costs, availability of packaging materials locally, and our highly skilled local workforce, mean that Bahrain can offer a sustainable business-friendly environment that enables FMCG companies to scale up and get their products to the region quickly and easily.
So we are delighted that Mondelēz International, home to sweet treats loved across the globe from Barni to Ritz, Oreo to belVita, is now set to produce 45,000 tons of biscuits a year in its new state-of-the-art factory.
And when it comes to the business of biscuits, we’re thrilled that Mondelēz’s new factory will provide around 300 direct jobs, and create hundreds more indirectly in the local economy.
As one of its six global mega manufacturing and distribution hubs, Mondelēz’s production facilities located in the Bahrain International Investment Park will operate with the latest innovations in the industry known as “Lines of the Future” manufacturing. This new manufacturing process will include a special ‘creaming’ technology that makes it one of the most technically advanced in the world.
The move marks another milestone for our country’s manufacturing sector, as FMCG producers increasingly look to us as their preferred base in the GCC region to setup Factories of the Future.
It is also an example of what can be achieved in Bahrain when we take a collaborative, nimble, investor-focused approach. The factory expansion was the result of the public and private sector partnering on a common aim, with a number of ministries including the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, the Bahrain International Investment Park, the Bahrain EDB, Mondelēz International, and Mondelēz’s suppliers and partners all working together to unlock the opportunity and ensure a seamless setup. This partnership between the public and the private is what we call our ‘Team Bahrain’ approach, to ensure we create the best environment for businesses to innovate and scale faster.
FMCG manufacturers have been quick to capitalise on the opportunities and it’s not just Mondelēz International who have moved in. Reckitt Benckiser, an international FMCG company specialising in health and hygiene products, has established its only manufacturing facility in the entire region in Bahrain. Additionally back in 1994, Olayan Group, one of the largest Saudi conglomerates, and Kimberly-Clark, one of the world’s largest FMCG companies, established a joint venture in Bahrain to export to the region. The success of their business, providing products such as Kleenex tissue rolls and Huggies diapers, has led to further expansions in 2011 and 2015.
By encouraging companies to set up bases for their business in Bahrain, we’re putting forward the case to help make sure more consumer goods are #MadeInBahrain!