Abdullatif Abdulkarim Almunayes (center) is pictured with his sons.
Abdullatif Abdulkarim Almunayes (center) is pictured with his sons.

KUWAIT: 1. Almunayes General Trading Est was established in 1947; 15 years prior to Kuwait’s independence. How did the company progress during these years?

Our founder, Abdullatif Abdulkarim Almunayes, began with a small business by selling Almunayes Tea in different packings imported from Ceylon, which was registered in 1954. Through winning over customers, who appreciated Almunayes Tea’s authentic and rich taste, he was able to grow steadily over the course of more than 60 years. Today, we not only have a loyal customer base in Kuwait, but Almunayes Tea is exported to neighboring countries, such as Iran, United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In parallel, Almunayes acted on his understanding of the market’s potential for confectionery products in Kuwait by establishing Braidah Foodstuff Co W L L in 1985. Braidah is responsible for distributing a large variety of popular branded products in addition to our own branded range of products. We also sell our own branded items, including Almunayes Coffee, Cardamom India and Guatemala and Golden Indian Basmati Rice, along with the aforementioned Almunayes Tea.

2. What drives the continued success of Almunayes General Trading Est?

As a family-owned business, our success depends on transferring the know-how, business networks and business ethics from generation to generation. Over decades, we developed powerful business relationships with our suppliers, employees, and customers, based on transparency, trust and mutual benefit. We believe that success must have two wings to be able to soar, with one being to like what one does, and the other being consistency in terms of quality, pricing and delivering on promises. Additionally, we have great respect to our customers and the community. We respect their tastes and try to understand their needs and fulfill them with outstanding quality products. We sincerely cherish our relationships with a wide array of customers from various nationalities and age groups, and hope to be able to maintain their loyalty and support in the future.

3. Almuanyes Tea has been a local favorite for over 60 years. How has the tea business progressed during this period?

Tea, as simple as it might seem to many people, is a complex and sensitive product due to many factors. One of them is quality. Distinguishing between fine from not-so-fine quality tea is a science in itself and requires proper training and experience. At Almunayes, we acquired this knowledge and experience over many years to ensure that our tea brand is excellent in all aspects. Through the past 60 years, we succeeded in building a sustainable relationship with Sri Lanka’s finest tea producers. We know the source of our tea, when it was produced, when it was packaged and when it was shipped. Through these six decades, we succeeded in winning the tastes of the local market and were able to expand into neighboring countries. The power of the quality of our tea is constituted in the form of high customer loyalty and a powerful name among tea brands. Now, we are working on leveraging the quality and energy of our tea to expand in terms of product variety and presence in the local market as well in external markets.

4. Does tea drinking appeal to the young generation as it does to the old?

Tea has always faced tough competition from other caffeinated beverages such as coffee and soft drinks, which mainly target the young segment of the population. However, if you examine the market, you will notice that tea companies are increasing their investment in communicating their brands to the young generations. I believe the reason for this lies on growing public awareness of the benefits of tea compared to coffee and soft drinks. And the fact that tea is a flexible drink makes it easier for brands to be innovative with it to attract young people, who are always keen on trying new products. I trust that young people enjoy great taste and are able to choose the right tea.

5. What other sectors does Almunayes General Trading Est. compete in?

We are proud to represent a large number of excellent brands from different countries. One of our main products is rice, which is marketed under the Golden brand name. It is an XL (long grain) Indian Basmati that has outstanding quality, in addition to other branded products like Coffee and Cardamom from India and Guatemala. Aside from that, we are the distributer of various popular confectionery products of the Singaporean company Meiji Seika, the manufacturer of Hello Panda and Yan Yan products. Both products are very popular and enjoy strong loyalty. We also distribute Pop Sweet Corn from Central Vista – Malaysia and Alpenliebe from Perfetti Van Melle.

6. Your products are imported in high volumes from all corners of the globe. How do you ensure their quality and freshness?

Through the years we have developed a work system that is solid and efficient. We require samples, run our own quality checks and qualify the most suitable products. To ensure the highest levels of quality and freshness, we choose our partners very carefully and supervise all steps of production and packaging. We use the most reliable shipping methods and operate refrigerated containers for perishable goods.

7. What are the future plans for Almunayes General Trading Est? We are an ambitious establishment, yet we choose our moves wisely. As we continue establishing the Almunayes name in certain categories, we are planning to refresh some of our branded products and add more variety to them. In the long-term, we will continue exploring new markets for expansion opportunities and broaden our suppliers’ network to expand our portfolio.