Always on the lookout for the latest trends to keep up with ever-evolving customers’ needs, Chef Middle East has announced the launch of new key beverage brands aimed at strengthening their positioning as a supplier for bar professionals, while bringing to the market exclusive, premium products to complement its existing portfolio.
Since the acquisition of Limeline Beverages in 2017, the distributor has continuously grown its beverage category through carefully handpicking premium brands – from water to carbonated beverages or juices – which has enabled it to build a strong proposition over the years in regional markets.
Tauland Hyka, Beverage Category Manager at Chef Middle East says: “Our main focus for 2021 is to fill the gaps for a wider selection of products such as coffee and tea, and of course a larger selection of juices, syrups and premium carbonated beverages. By 2022, we aim to offer a 360-degree full beverage solution for all requirements from a bar, restaurant, or coffee shop standpoint as well a stronger range for hotels’ minibars.”
Adding to its current portfolio, Chef Middle East will introduce an exclusive gourmet Italian brand, Mikah Coffee, in the UAE and Oman by June 2021. The distributor believes that this strategic addition will bring it closer to bar professionals through offering a product that makes their vision for serving great coffee easier to achieve. Additionally, Mikah is a brand that includes a wide range of coffee origins and a robust experience in coffee roasting and blending.
“One of the main trends that have grown rapidly in the beverage sector in the Middle East is coffee, which explains the need to have an exclusive coffee brand as part of our range,” Hyka adds.
Massimo Hakim, CEO at Mikah Coffee says: “Chef Middle East is known as one of the most established importers and distributors of fine food and beverage ingredients from all over the world, not only in the UAE but in other GCC countries as well. For us, working with them is ideal, as we are sure that our coffee will be well taken care of, and explained and brewed the right way. The GCC is a great territory with continuous expansion plans and enormous potential in all segments of the sector; hence, merging Chef Middle East and Mikah’s networks will allow for a more significant presence to help increase our market share in the region.”
Mikah is an Italian coffee brand with roasting facilities, which was established in 1984. It took off thanks to passion and determination towards building a brand that would disseminate Italian coffee culture around the globe. Up until today, Mikah Coffee has been able to share the experience of true Italian espresso in over 44 countries.
The company imports conventional coffee from 18 different origins, including Brazil, Panama, India, Guatemala, Colombia, Ethiopia and Indonesia, which make up almost 50% of their blends base. They also roast organic coffee of eight different origins and certified speciality coffee of 12 origins.
Moreover, Catcher Gourmet has just launched in the UAE market and will be available in Qatar and Oman in the coming months. The core products in this range are Sauces and Premix Powders. Catcher comes as a real sip of magic to assist any bartender with enhanced creativity in crafting recipes of frappes, flavoured coffees, mocktails and to be added as a topping.
Nelson Kho, Managing Director at Catcher Gourmet says: “At Catcher Gourmet, we never follow the trend, we create it. Thus, you will always find unique products with us; Matcha and Earl Grey sauces are perfect examples. We believe good products always stand with great partners, so with the strong portfolio and capabilities of Chef Middle East, we are confident that Catcher Gourmet will be a successful brand across the beverage segment in the GCC.”
Catcher Gourmet is a brand which has specialised in professional beverage ingredients for baristas who develop cafés, restaurants and hotels’ beverages since 2009. It is a name that originates from Malaysia and mainly focuses on the development of coffee and tea recipes. Today, Catcher Gourmet is available in Asia and the GCC in over 20 countries.
Chef Middle East has also launched two exclusive tea brands in the UAE, Vertea and The Leaf, which offer a wide selection ranging from catering packs to the most premium leaf that can be served for Afternoon Tea rituals at hotels, bars and restaurants.
A range of over twenty authentic teas carefully selected from around the world, The Leaf is primarily for 5-star hotel tea lounges and fine dining restaurants. The teas create flavours and characters that stimulate and educate the palate, and cover black, green and herbal sips. Designed for connoisseurs, but accessible to everyone, the whole leaf tea is packed into biodegradable pyramid bags and sealed for freshness in aluminium envelopes. The same teas are also available loose, packed in aroma-protecting pouches.
A premium range of speciality teas specifically created for 4 and 5-star hotels and restaurants, Vertea teas are sourced with precision, ethically and responsibly. Not only does the company pride itself in curating the finest in tea from all over the world, but also in its ability to preserve its freshness and authenticity.
Recognising the spectrum and scope of the HORECA market, according to Chef Middle East, these two distinctive ranges meet the needs of the industry. Vertea is set to be available in Oman in the next few months.
Richard Smyth, Managing Director for both tea brands under Tea Trading International, says: “The selection of Chef Middle East as our partner was not a quick or rapid decision. In these more uncertain times, it was important to us to find the qualities of reliability, service and integrity in a strategic partner. We felt that Chef Middle East could fulfil these promises, and so we are delighted to start our journey with them.”
The distributor has confirmed the return of the Nai Arabia range of iced teas to its portfolio, this time with no added sugar; the beverages can be served as is or be used by bartenders as an ingredient in their mocktail recipes.
“I truly believe that adding these key brands will strengthen our focus and offering altogether to build a solution that fulfils all the needs of the market and help us grow our beverage category at a greater pace. Our aim is to place Chef Middle East on the map, not only as the best food distributor in the region, but also the best beverage distributor,” adds Hyka.
Despite the current challenges faced in the wake of the global pandemic and restrictions placed on the hospitality sector, alongside the latest events in supply chain and taxation laws within its operating markets, Chef Middle East is determined to continue serving its foodservice customers in the best way possible and enhancing their offering to support industry professionals to always be able to adapt, thrive and succeed during these trying times and beyond, the distributor highlights.