WATCH: Protein ice cream pioneers LightWhey unveils significant retail expansion in UAE, plans to enter 1,000 outlets
This content item was originally published on www.foodnavigator-asia.com, a William Reed online publication.
It is currently present in some 650 stores in UAE, following a deal with Carrefour Hypermarket earlier this year.
The company was founded in 2015. According to co-founder and CEO Mohannad Al Hourani, back then “there were a lot of protein bars and snacks around, but ice creams in the market were full of sugar and fat.”
LightWhey adds whey protein from cow’s milk) into the ice cream, giving each 200ml tub an average of 22.5g of protein, 16g of carbohydrates, 7.5g of fat and no added sugar. Sweetness is achieved through the use of xylitol and sucralose.
On average, one serving of LightWhey ice cream is equivalent to the macronutrients in a 100g serving of salmon and one small piece of brown toast.
LightWhey says its ice cream products are catered to professional athletes as well as health conscious individuals.
While the protein element would cater to the first group of consumers, “It’s not just for people into fitness or those going to the gym. It’s good for everyone who wants to reduce their sugar and fat intake and looking for a healthy snack alternative,” Al Hourani added.
LightWhey has an online and offline strategy, selling through its online store, e-commerce platforms such as Talabat, Deliveroo, and Careem, as well as supermarkets, mini marts, health stores, and gyms.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, retail accounted for most of its sales, and online only 5%. Now, online makes up around 20 to 25% of its sales.
Earlier this year, the company entered about 30 Carrefour hypermarkets which AI Hourani said was a huge step for them.
“Carrefour has about 30% of the market share in UAE, and previously we were only in smaller stores.”
The company has launched seven SKUs at Carrefour and sales have grown 20 to 25% month-on-month.
“This shows that the brand works for mass market, not just for people going to the gym, so regular people can have a healthy option of ice cream.
“Our next step would be to go into the smaller supermarkets like Carrefour Markets, which are usually in the residential neighborhoods,” Al Hourani told FoodNavigator-Asia.
LightWhey recently launched a new range in 450ml cups, containing ingredients such as sugar-free cookies and brownies, which is stocked at Carrefour.
Next year, it will focus on new flavours of ice cream and the healthy snacking sector. The products are all manufactured in a factory in Sharjah, UAE.
The firm is also present in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain through similar sales channels.
For instance, in Bahrain, the products are available at Lulu Hypermarket, Careefour Hypermarket, Aal Jazzera Stores, and will launch on Talabat next month.
This year, the company expects sales to grow 300% from last year to AED8m (US$2.2m).
It is planning to relaunch in Qatar over the next few months.
“We plan to launch in Singapore and South Africa hopefully next year, and maybe other countries in the Middle East like Jordan if we see the opportunity. We’re currently looking for distributors worldwide,” Al Hourani said.