OMAN - Industry
CEO, Areej Vegetable Oils & Derivatives SAOC (AVOD)
Salem Nasser Al Bortmany graduated from the UK with a BEng in chemical engineering and obtained his MBA there. He attended various management and leadership programs at Harvard Business School. He joint AVOD in 1996, as an executive engineer. He is a member of various public and private committees including board member of manufacturing companies, logistics, and various institutes in Oman.
While the pandemic affected the way we do business, it also brought along new opportunities that have helped AVOD tide over any challenges and emerge safe and stable. With more than three decades of expertise and experience behind us, AVOD has had the foresight to implement strategies that did not impact our performance and ensured the demands of our customers and markets are being met. In terms of products, brands such as Minara and other importers’ private brands, have been doing well in the MENA region for 20 years and have managed to successfully raise the profile of our edible oil products as well as derivatives products. Minara means purity and of highest premium. Truly reflecting this, the Minara brand has set itself apart and within a short period of time has become customer favorite in premium cooking oil segment in Oman and GCC markets. Identifying it as a right time to diversify into edible oil segment, we shifted our focus from the sunflower oil segment to olive oil, corn oil, and canola oil segments. This in a larger sense, reflects our belief in “Eat Right & Live Well” philosophy through these new segments of brands under Minara brand umbrella. Minara’s reputation has allowed us to push the envelope further and these have been high-performing products for us today. External factors such as the ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict affected sunflower oil production, but we were able to mitigate any shortages by finding alternative supplies from Argentina and also through the above said segment diversification, contributing to food security in the country as well. The fact that we have such a diverse product portfolio, and an all-inclusive growth strategy means that we are ready and able to the bridge the gaps in the market, maintain consistency in supplies, and provide our consumers with alternatives.
AVOD has always been a consumer-focused and customer-centric company. After all, they are our end-users. Consumer needs and requirements are always evolving and in the recent years, physical and modern life wellness has taken centerstage for all of us. Health-conscious consumers are always looking for the next best alternative that can contribute to their own and their families’ overall wellbeing. Our R&D teams base all their research on a trifecta of factors: market scenarios, consumer preferences (from farm to fork), and best practices prevalent in the industry. We then work to ensure that all three are in alignment, providing the best in health, value, and quality. It is this attention to detail has allowed us to introduce consumer-targeted products.
When one talks about sustainability, there are two things to take into consideration. One is business sustainability itself and the second is environmental sustainability. If the latter is implemented properly, then the former automatically follows. Many companies have only just begun renavigate their best practices to make sustainability one of the key factors. It is no longer just a footnote and has become crucial to long-term growth strategies. Here again, AVOD has been ahead of the curve. We are certified with environmental management system (ISO 14001:2015), energy management system (ISO 50001:2018), and food safety management system (FSSC 22000) upgraded currently to BRCGS certification. International compliance and certificates leave no stone unturned to ensure that local and international certifications and standards all are met and maintained. Such integration between AVOD’s strategy, sustainability, and international standards are widely appreciated and accepted by all multinational companies where AVOD is associating with major strategic partners such as Heinz, Unilever, Goody, and Yum. We are constantly innovating to enhance our automation processes and have put a comprehensive waste reduction policy in place. Water consumption is another crucial area for us, and we are working to find ways to reduce our usage and manage available resources better.