US retail giant adds Pakistani products

Dawood says country should prioritise brand development to enhance exports

Usman Hanif June 02, 2021
The Kroger supermarket chain's headquarters is shown in Cincinnati, Ohio. PHOTO: REUTERS


Pakistan’s endeavours to promote its products at the retail level have borne fruit as The Kroger Company, the third largest retail store chain in the US, has added Pakistani food products to its outlets.

“The Ministry of Commerce is pleased to inform that Pakistani food products are now available at The Kroger Co, US,” tweeted Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood on Tuesday.

According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Commerce, the company has 2,700 stores and an annual turnover of nearly $122 billion.

“This will give a boost to the ‘Made in Pakistan’ brand and enhance confidence of Pakistanis to compete at the international level,” said Dawood. He was of the opinion that in order to enhance exports, the country should prioritise brand development.

Local brands of Pakistan were still not recognised in the global market, hence, more efforts were required from exporters, he stressed.

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“The success of Pakistan on the global front is always appreciated by overseas Pakistanis,” he said. “The country possesses ample potential, however, there is a need to focus more on the branding side in order to achieve the desired results and turn our country into a competitive market.”

An alternative strategy was to acquire a foreign brand and develop it further, he emphasised. “Both systems have their merits, hence, our exporters are urged to pay attention to the process, which is more rewarding in the longer term,” he said.

In comments to The Express Tribune, Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) President Shariq Vohra appreciated government’s efforts and termed it the second good news in a row after the inclusion of Pakistan in the Amazon’s sellers’ list.

He voiced hope that such developments would open new opportunities for Pakistani businessmen, particularly those related to the food segment. “I anticipate a rise in penetration of Pakistani products into the US market in the coming days as the retailer and its consumers gain trust in Made-in-Pakistan products,” he noted.

He was of the view that the addition of local products to Kroger’s branches would help enhance country’s exports of raw fruit, vegetables, grains, processed food, beverages, spices, confectionary items, meat, fish and a wide range of halal products.

In order to take complete advantage of the opportunity, there was a need to improve product branding and maintain quality control, he said.

He held the opinion that Pakistan should divert focus to exports of value-added products as they yielded higher profit margins. In this regard, he recommended to the government to develop a support mechanism for local producers in a bid to enable them to establish units.

He called for setting up quality enhancement centres, processing units, dehydration plants and cold storage chains. “They will increase the shelf life of Pakistan’s perishable goods and help exporters to meet international standards for exports,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2021.

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