Facing operational hurdles and low margins, manufacturing HEBs and supplying them to NGOs make it worthwhile because companies like GFI derive a sense of accomplishment and a good feeling from doing so. “It is a good opportunity for us because we derive a good feeling from being able to do the good work. It also encourages to better our standards because we have to monitor a very challenging set of processes set by the WFP, from start to end,” said Fuad Chundrigar, General Manager of the Snacking Division at Global Food Industries, Sharjah.
“Essentially, the main ingredients in the biscuits are wheat flour, sugar, soya and vegetable fat along with whey powder and other essential nutrients that will give the eater instant energy. Experts at WFP’s quality control division said the biscuits are equivalent to one meal,” said Chundrigar.
In 2014, GFI was awarded 11 WFP food aid tenders, with shipments ranging from $40,000 to $484,000. “Our relationship with WFP began in 2011 and the company itself was established in 2010,” said Chundrigar. The size of the consignments also varies based on the need of the product. “Sometimes the shipments from Sharjah are as big as 400 tonnes and it takes about 25 days to manufacture and package the biscuits,” said Mustafa Saeed, Marketing Head at GFI (Snacking).
“Some of the shipments went directly to places that were in need like Yemen, Myanmar, Syria and Philippines for example. A lot of the shipments went into the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) stockpiles in Humanitarian City, Jebel Ali, Dubai,” said Saeed. They contain vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients along with a dose of energy, which helps give disaster victims the strength they need to steer through the crisis. In February 2014, Global Food was awarded a tender worth $483,120 and the consignment went directly to Yemen and Myanmar.
‘Biscuits are good for you’
‘This product contains no lard’, ‘Not for individual sale’, ‘Halal’, and ‘Suitable for vegetarians’ are few of the notes printed on the biscuit packet.
A 100gm packet of biscuits contains 456.6 kilocalories of energy, 70.4gm of carbohydrate, and total fat of 15gm along with other ingredients.
“There is a common misconception among people here that biscuits and packaged products are not good for health. But with the right ingredients, biscuits provide people with a good dose of energy. With the exception of sugar and chocolate-filled biscuits, high-energy glucose biscuits are great for both kids and adults alike. With a healthy mix of vitamins, they can also be allowed into school canteens,” said Chundrigar.