Friday, 22 June 2018 01:04 GMT

UAE- 'Let's dispel rumours about Rainbow milk'

(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Rainbow, the first dairy product in the region, is often misunderstood as local company. Called by Emiratis as AbuCos, the milk has been deep-rooted with the Emirati culinary culture since it was launched in 1985.

Sumeet Mathur, managing director of Friesland Campina Middle East, in an interview with Khaleej Times talks about Friedsland Campina, the company which introduced the first fresh milk to the UAE.

Khaleej Times: It won't be an exaggeration to say UAE wakes up with Rainbow. Yet nobody knows it's just a brand name and the company name is different.

Sumeet Mathur: "Yes, we have been here for more than 60 years...People think we are a local company. When we say the company is based in Holland that gives an element of surprise. Another pleasant surprise is we are a cooperative and owned by farmers. It is quite an endearing thing for people to know a bunch of farmers in Holland formed the company in 1872.

Karak chai is for homes, Gen X; it won't be a threat to cafeterias Researches and developments are a never-ending process at Friesland Campina. The latest is Qubez, the first of its kind instant karak chai in the world. It was introduced in the UAE in the end of November last year priced at Dh2. Soon it vanished from the shelves.

But why karak chai a popular Indian drink in the UAE? Will it affect local tea makers and restaurants? Why it is not visible now? Did the company pull it up?

Sumeet Mathur, managing director of Freisland Campina Middle East, told Khaleej Times: "I would dare to call it national drink of UAE. Everyone likes it, but not everybody can make it in the right proportion.

"In the UAE, we have several restaurants offering karak chai and everyone have their own little twist to make it tastier. What about someone who wants to make a karak at home? Or to have it during a camping or outing where there are no restaurants?

"Qubez is for households and camping at deserts with an eye on youngsters and people who are in a jiffy. There is real milk in it, real tea powder. It is available in original (cardamom) and saffron flavours. We are in the making of launching it all across the Middle Eastern countries.

"We underestimated how much people will like it. The response was huge than what we anticipated. Whoever tried it, stock piled the Qubez. Ramadan is fast approaching and demand will be more.

"Qubez is first of its kind the world and cannot be replicate by others easily. People will still go to restaurants and have a cup of tea from there. This is for people to prepare a karak at when they don't have enough time and for who won't get the correct proportion.

"We got good response from people who went for camping. We may introduce regular flavours or limited edition."

But there are rumours among people here in the UAE that it is not fresh milk and harmful to health. The weirdest allegation I have ever heard was, it is "rubber milk" and not 'cow milk.'

Thanks for pointing it out. We were not aware of this. I joined the company from Nestle eight years back. I use it my family use it. My children use it. We are a heavy rainbow consuming family. It won't get better than this.Let's quell any such rumours.

"If I knew that the company is doing anything wrong, I wouldn't have working here now. It is a false story. We call it quality milk. It can be tested by anybody. It would be sad of people to have any other perception about our product.

It is indeed evaporated fresh milk coming from Holland's farms. Even the company name Friesland originated from Friesian cows, which is known all over the world. In 2011 another cooperative merged with Friesland and became Friesland Campina.

But fresh milk cannot have a year-long shelf life. How do you ensure it? What is the process?

Yes, you are right, when you get fresh milk from a cow, the shelf life is only of few hours because cow's milk has a lot of bacteria. All we do is to cook the milk to let the water to evaporate and pack it in cans. We don't add any preservatives or chemicals to ensure shelf life.

Milk is 80 per cent water ...and if you want to transport the milk to long distances if you don't cook it and evaporate it is also environmentally damaging.

You mean, the milk is condensed?

Mathur: Exactly. We evaporate the water content in a sterilised atmosphere and pack it in cans. The can format is stable and once it is packed no bacteria can enter it. Therefore, the product is good to go for another 12 months ...Absolutely nothing is added to give it a fresh life.

Who are your major customers? Is the product same across the world? Or does it change depending on the weather and climatic conditions?

We are proud to say all ethnicities and nationalities buy Rainbow. Definitely being the first milk product to come to the region, it is with Emirati cultural identity. They are the heavy consumers of our product. Now with the presence of a lot of expats, we get almost equal consumers from both Emiratis and expats. The product remains the same everywhere but the brand names differ. The name Rainbow stayed in the region.

What are the other projects?

Another focus will be on our cheese. People go to supermarkets and ask the counter guy to get some cheese from 'that red block not knowing it is Frico cheese from Friesland Campina.

Frico is natural cheese, probably one of the most nutritious products in the world. Every 10 kilos of milk come into 1kg cheese.

We are going to launch a thick cream very soon. There are some other projects in the pipeline, which are too early to share.


UAE- 'Let's dispel rumours about Rainbow milk'

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