LuLu Hypermarket is looking to boost imports from Sri Lanka across a wide range of goods and food products, a top official said on Sunday.
“We will enhance efforts to import more products from Sri Lanka under LuLu’s plan to diversify its sources for imports as demand is growing because of the rising population and FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022,” said Dr Mohamed Althaf, director, LuLu Group International, on the sidelines of the opening of the Sri Lankan Festival at LuLu, D-Ring Road branch, under the theme ‘Taste of Sri Lanka’.
Sri Lankan ambassador Mohamed Mafaz Mohideen inaugurated the festival in the presence of Dr Althaf and many other distinguished guests from banks, retail and FMCG sectors, including officials from other LuLu outlets.
The festival is running in all LuLu Hypermarkets until February 11. The event promotes the unique culinary heritage of Sri Lanka, which is a blend of different colonial influences - the British, Dutch and Portuguese - as well as pan-Asia and Indian, especially southern and Indonesian influences.
According to Dr Althaf, LuLu is now operating its sourcing facility at the Colombo Special Economic Zone in Sri Lanka. “We are now sourcing fresh fruits and vegetables through this facility for the Sri Lankan expatriate community in Qatar and other consumers."
Plans are afoot to add more products, such as food and non-food items, to the list of LuLu's exports from Sri Lanka, he said, adding that Sri Lanka is an ideal partner for Qatar from a food security point of view because of food products similar to those produced in Asian countries.
Sri Lanka and the Arab world share a rich culinary experience, which nurtured the spice trade of olden days and is still a vibrant presence in Arab kitchens today, LuLu said in a statement.
Addressing the media, Mohideen said LuLu is one of the top supermarket brands in the region and the world, which offers Sri Lankan food and non-food items.
“Sri Lanka and LuLu have a longstanding relationship. The group has an export distribution centre in Sri Lanka for the sourcing of goods. The facility provides opportunities to Sri Lankan farmers to market their products,” he said.
Mohideen said more than 350 Sri Lankan products are being sold in LuLu outlets across the country, enabling the Sri Lankan community in Qatar and other shoppers to enjoy a wide range of consumer items.
Most of the popular Sri Lankan food brands are available at LuLu outlets, the ambassador said. Aside from food, Sri Lankan textiles, sarees and similar products are on display at the festival, said Mohideen, who added: “This is a great addition, giving another sector the opportunity to join the market.”
Mohideen said the festival offers a wide range of Sri Lankan products from groceries to ‘super foods’ not only to the Sri Lankan community but to other people in Qatar who are looking for alternative types of foods.
Dr Althaf said while the festival is offering a wide range of Sri Lankan food and non-food products, it is the first time during the festival that LuLu has introduced high-quality textile products.
“The festival mainly exhibits Sri Lankan ethnic and grocery items, as well as agricultural and organic produce,” explained Dr Althaf, noting that the event highlights the diverse culture and culinary heritage of Sri Lanka.
“LuLu Group has organised the festival in co-operation with its export unit, YAS Lanka in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The unit was set up in 2017 to boost sourcing operations and bring in high-quality products for LuLu’s chain of hypermarkets across the world."
LuLu Group boasts of a huge amount of annual imports in fruits, vegetables, groceries, spices, and other commodities from Sri Lanka. YAS Lanka’s exports have gone up considerably since its opening. LuLu Group has similar export distribution centres in 22 countries, including the UK, the US, Spain, Turkey, Vietnam, Thailand, China and countries in Africa.
The festival offers shoppers the opportunity to stock up on top-quality spices that Sri Lanka is known for, such as cloves, pepper, cinnamon, which are all packaged for hygiene, aroma, and convenience.
Also available are a variety of tea and tea-based herbal infusions with turmeric, chamomile and other herbs and "amazing" teas from signature plantations around Sri Lanka.
A wide range of Sri Lankan commodities and agricultural produce is now on display at discounted prices; special counters have been set up to facilitate tasting and sampling for customers.
Many varieties of organic and healthy coconut products, such as coconut cream, coconut milk and virgin and cold-pressed coconut oil are showcased in the ‘special deals section’, while the vegetable racks will be filled with the goodness, colour and juicy flavours of Sri Lankan farm produce.
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