Chi signs MENA distribution deal with Wellbeing

By Eliot Beer

- Last updated on GMT

Chi signs MENA distribution deal with Wellbeing

Related tags: Middle east

Chi Drinks has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Wellbeing International, covering the Middle East and North Africa.

Wellbeing will take over fulfilment of Chi's existing contracts in the region, and aims to expand the reach of the brand's products, which include coconut water and coconut oil. Globally, Chi saw 500% year-on-year growth in 2013, and had its products featured at this month's London Fashion Week.

The global coconut water market is now worth over US$400 million and major players such as Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have invested to capitalise on the explosion of interest. We know just how savvy our consumers are, they are saying no to sugar and putting their health first. Chi is the only coconut water brand on the market with no added sugar – and that’s why Wellbeing is backing Chi​,” said Wellbeing co-founder Gemma Price.

Growing portfolio

Jonathan Newman, owner and founder of Chi, said: “I’m thrilled to be partnering with Wellbeing International for this region. Gemma and Zara’s combined experience, excellent portfolio, and super infrastructure present the perfect combination for a successful relationship.​”

Wellbeing is a new distributor to the region, and has recently signed a number of organic and health food brands, including Creative Nature and Nom Foods. The company is currently working to finalise the logistics to bring its products into the region.

We've got the buyers there, waiting, and we're just in the paperwork process right now. By the end of March, we should be seeing people eating our products – that's our hope. We're doing everything as fast as possible, but by the book​,” said Wellbeing co-founder Zara Shirwan.

Initially Wellbeing will focus on the GCC, but is also working with partners within the region, such as Superfood Egypt, to expand its reach as fast as possible.

One prong is to find distribution partners we can work with on marketing campaigns, on export logistics and economies of scale. The second approach is to work directly with the major supermarket brands. We're also fortunate enough to be tapped into our wonderful network of UKTI (UK Trade & Investment) specialists. Thirdly, and this is the old-school trade way, we're approaching retailers one by one​,” said Shirwan.

Education mission

She is very clear that Wellbeing's mission is not just to sell products, but to promote good health and help Middle East consumers move away from unhealthy food choices. She highlights the growing incidence of diabetes – currently affecting 24% of the population in Saudi Arabia – as a sign of how important the issue of healthy eating is.

The major point about our brands taking off in these countries is, we're not just putting our brands on the shelves and expecting them to speak for themselves – they will – but we're mounting a bigger public education campaign,​” Shirwan said.

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