Wild is the first supplier of its kind to expand into the Middle East. The new site, located at Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai, will serve the markets of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Levant, North Africa and the Indian sub-continent. Wild has been planning the new development for four years and has invested over 100m Dirhams (€18.5m) into the construction of the plant. Roland Klein, managing director for Wild Flavours Middle East, said that increased speed will be a major advantage of the new site. Previously, customers from this area would have to wait up to four weeks to receive their new products because of transportation times. Now ingredients can be developed and delivered to its customers within a couple of days. Klein said: "We have growing numbers of customers from the Middle East, and being the first ingredients supplier here will mean we will catch the attention of new customers first. The Middle East is an attractive market because of its climate, culture and its growing population." Klein thinks other companies may follow suit and also set up sites in the Middle East, and therefore is pleased that Wild got there first to set the standards. "The global trend is moving away from alcoholic beverages, which are obviously not of concern here, and the water and juices markets are growing. Our new developments will help build on these new patterns." The facility includes manufacturing and warehousing, with a capacity of 75,000 tons. It was inaugurated yesterday by Dr Hans-Peter Wild, chairman and owner of Wild. Wild said: "With the opening of our plant in Jebel Ali, we are establishing our solid presence in the future market of the Middle East. As the first company of our industry to build here, we are providing local tailor-made product concepts, ingredients and services for our customers and partners in the region." Dubai was chosen for its central location and advanced infrastructure. The company says its customers from the Middle East will now benefit from local product development and shorter production lead times. Wild is a privately owned supplier of natural flavour ingredients for the food and beverage industry. Its product range includes flavour systems, flavours and extracts and fruit and vegetable preparations. The company also produces colours, concentrates, sweetening systems and speciality ingredients such as functional flavours and flavour keys.