LuLu Group, in co-operation with Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade), the commercial division of the Australian embassy, launched Sunday ‘Australia Week’, which will be celebrated in all LuLu hypermarkets across the region.
Australian ambassador Jonathan Muir and his wife inaugurated the event held inside LuLu’s hypermarket at Giardino Mall, The Pearl Island, in the presence of Dr Mohamed Althaf, director of LuLu Group International.
The event was also graced by other special guests, including ICC Qatar secretary-general Remy Rowhani, BLJ Worldwide CEO Justin Kerr-Stevens, and Austrade Business Development manager - Qatar Diana Monis, among others.
Speaking at the event, Muir emphasised that Australian food and beverage products have gained “an impeccable reputation” around the world for superior quality, great value and innovative production methods.
He stressed that Australian produce is renowned for its diversity, freshness and excellence, with beef, lamb, seafood, truffles, olives and cheeses consistently ranking among the world’s best.
“Our products are also tailored to meet the specific needs of international markets, with many Australian companies specialising in organic and halal products, as well as those with reduced sugar, salt and fat, preservative-free, gluten-free, nut-free and dairy-free,” Muir said.
He also lauded LuLu’s “sustained efforts” to promote Australian food and non-food products locally and beyond the Qatari market through its extensive network of hypermarket chains.
“You can find these products in the world’s most prestigious restaurants, in the cabins of Qatar Airways, on the shelves of the finest retailers, including, of course, your local LuLu. These unique food offerings have also become a major draw for visitors to Australia and research shows that travellers rate it as one of the top two countries in the world for food experiences.
“With Australia hosting the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup this summer, I am thrilled to announce that residents of Qatar are among the largest purchasers of tickets for the event. I encourage all of you to visit Australia this summer for an unforgettable experience, where you can not only enjoy exciting football but partake of some of the world’s best food,” Muir added.
On the sidelines of the event, Dr Althaf told the media that Australian products “have been increasing significantly” at all LuLu outlets over the last four years “due to growing local demand”.
“We had started importing different food and non-food items from Australia. Now, we have almost all ranges of Australian products, which have become an integral part of LuLu’s offerings,” he explained.
According to Dr Althaf, LuLu Group is working closely with Austrade to expand its footprint in Australia. “We will be able to start shipping a wide range of products from Australia to Qatar soon. LuLu will buy products in Australia and export them to Qatar.
“This will go through all necessary processes like halal certification, traceability and quality testing to bring the best products from Australia. We believe this initiative will play a proactive role in ensuring food security in Qatar. Historically, GCC markets depended very heavily on Australia for perishable and protein-rich foods, as well as other products.”
According to Dr Althaf, Australia has a long history of producing high-quality halal products, especially for the Middle East and GCC countries. “LuLu is going to benefit from this initiative and we are looking forward to meeting with government officials to start import operations officially from Australia,” Dr Althaf said.
‘Australia Week’, which has been organised by LuLu Group in Qatar since 2018, will run until February 11 and is showcasing major product lines that are directly imported from Australia.
These include fresh meat, organic foods, muesli bars, plant-based milk, sauces, cake mix, honey, groceries, and fresh fruits and vegetables, among others. Recent reports say there has been a considerable increase in Australia’s exports of livestock, fresh food, processed food products and vegetables to Qatar.
During the inaugural ceremony, students from King’s College Doha delivered live musical performances. Chef Ali’s live cooking sessions were also organised during the festival, while special counters were set up to allow customers to sample different kinds of food from Australia.