By Sreekrishna Bhat. Leading kitchen equipment maker Zanussi Professional has reiterated its commitment to invest more in the Middle East and open new facilities to increase its market penetration.
Zanussi Professional is a part of the Electrolux Group, believed to be the number one producer of kitchen equipment in the world.
Zanussi, with 50 years of experience in the catering industry, offers more than 3,000 products designed for complete kitchen installations.
Speaking to TTN on the sidelines of the Zanussi World Convention in Sardinia, Italy, Dr Detlef Munchow, president of Electrolux Professional, said Middle East is a key market for Zanussi and the company has seen good growth in the region in recent years.
The company plans to launch a unique facility in Dubai where a live kitchen will form the core of its regional office, early next year. There will be demonstrations of its products for the benefit of customers, end-users and technicians. It will also serve as a training centre for sales and technical staff from the Middle East, India and Africa.
The new facility will be the third of its kind, after China and Singapore.
"This is a new concept. The office will be around the kitchen, a live kitchen. It will be a training centre and not a showroom," said Marco Guerretti, managing director, Middle East region.
He said innovation is one of the main goals of the company and it spends seven per cent of the total turnover on R&D.
"Our labs are very active in looking for exclusive solutions," he said.
"The company has experienced a growth of 25-30 per cent year on year during the last three years in the Middle East. We have the right strategy and are investing more money in the region.
"We have been able to revitalise a market which had achieved a static situation."
Zanussi has launched a massive direct mailing campaign in the Middle East for its Active range of products, said Bertil Andersson, general manager Middle East, based in Dubai.
The company has 11 distributors in the region and the highest number of showrooms in Saudi Arabia.
"Our concept is to be close to the market via our distributors, create a stock for fast moving equipment and speed up the procedures for unit sales," he said.
Both Guerretti and Andersson laid a great deal of emphasis on the company's e-business portal Partner.com The portal provides the facility to check stocks in real time, place orders directly and check the status of an order. It offers a complete solution from proposal to delivery, they said.
Earlier, at the conference attended by partners and delegates from 48 countries, Dr Munchow said the company was creating value for partners, service agents, chefs, restaurateurs and consumers.
He stressed the need for the company and its partners to abide by the brand promise and to position the brand correctly.
"We are unique, we have a broad spectrum of products for the gastronomic sector," he said.
Electrolux Group which had about 15 brands, some with identical products, has in recent years reduced the number of brands to three - Electrolux, Zanussi and Molteni.
Electrolux is targeted at the higher end of the market such as hotels and big catering services, while Zanussi products are meant to serve the gastronomic sector.
He said Zanussi had posted an 8 per cent growth in 2001 despite the September 11 incidents and enjoyed the strongest December ever last year.
The company reduced capacity in 2002 January expecting a downturn. But the growth continues, he said.
Zanussi will launch its new N900 line in the market early next year.
A prototype of the product was unveiled at the Sardinia convention.
The new line follows the launch earlier of the Active range, which has been received very well by the market and new products have been introduced in the line.
"The Active line gives the chef performance, control, safety, hygiene and intelligence. It provides peace of mind for the chef," said a spokesman.
The application of HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points), which is usually quite complicated, has become very simple with the Active products and the operators can face this subject without any problems or additional activities, he said.
"Active products work on their own to guarantee hygiene in all operations. Cooking, storing, washing and serving become safe and simple actions with ActiveCombi, ActiveFryer, ActiveFridge, ActiveDishwasher and ActiveSelf, which are all available in various models," said the spokesman.
Through FoodSafe Control (the process safety control system) the new ActiveCombi oven, following recipes that the chef sets, cooks while constantly providing information on the process status: a green light in the eye-shaped indicator means that conditions of safety have been reached; a red light indicates that cooking must be prolonged in order to reach those conditions. All this is made possible by the new six-sensor probe which carries out precise measurement of the temperature inside the food.
After cooking, all the values of the established parameters for that particular cooking cycle are automatically recorded. The ActiveCombi is able to memorise up to 2,000 cookings, which can be recalled and consulted through an easy-to-read display. It is also possible, using a special printer, to document the results quickly and effortlessly.
The new ActiveFryer, thanks to the FoodSafe Control system, allows the definition of 5 HACCP programs activated based on the different foods being treated and constantly monitors time and temperature parameters.
The ActiveFridge products guarantee the maintenance of the food conservation process even when one of the temperature measuring probes is not operating correctly.
ActiveDishwasher guarantees perfect hygiene and cleanliness. The new integrated system makes it possible for the machine to regulate itself automatically, starting the rinse phase only when the water is at the correct sanitation temperature (84¡C) regardless of external conditions (mains water temperature and pressure).
This guarantees a complete and total removal of any traces of detergent and the sanitation of the dishes.
The new Zanussi ActiveSelf offers all the functions required for hygienic and safe food conservation and distribution with a new and distinguished design.
The construction of the ActiveSelf guarantees easy cleaning (rounded corners, welded wells, head-to-head assembly of modules) and highest robustness (complete structure in stainless steel, 20/10mm top).
The ActiveSelf is designed in modules that are easy to order and assemble, thus guaranteeing 50 per cent savings in installation time and cost, easier maintenance and more quality of the whole supplied product, the spokesman said.
The new N900 line embodies all the traditional advantages of the classic cooking block, the core of the kitchen plus some significant new benefits, said a company spokesman.
Zanussi Professional has also launched the Pasta Station, a combination of equipment and accessories designed for cooking, chilling, preserving and regenerating
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
Published monthly by Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group, the region’s foremost trade publisher, TTN is aimed at professionals in the industry, from travel agents to airline and hotel personnel.
TTN provides in-depth and extensive coverage of relevant issues in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in other parts of the world. Travel related news, analysis, and new appointments together with information on up-coming exhibitions, marketing and promotional campaigns are presented in an innovative and striking colour tabloid.
Every issue also contains a collation of international and regional news and topical features of interest to readers.