Interview with Mr Rafiq Rangoonwala — a leading businessman
PAGE: Tell me something about yourself, please:
Rafiq Rangoonwala: I am associated with food business for last 40 years. I started my career with KFC in Houston, worked in Caribbean looking after English speaking islands, later on was transferred to Middle East as Market Director of KFC, MENA Region. Moved to Pakistan at the end of 1999 as CEO of KFC till 2014. Also managed brands, like Pizza Hut, Hardees, Burger King, Harry Ramsden, Pizza Express, TGI Fridays, etc.
PAGE: Could you tell us about the progress and facilities of Mon Salwa?
Rafiq Rangoonwala: Since its launch back in 1997, Mon Salwa has come a big way towards becoming a well-known Frozen Food brand in Pakistan. As one of the pioneers in the category, Mon Salwa over the years has introduced a number of unique and tasteful frozen food products that have not only excited its consumers with its taste and textures but has also added to their convenience. Consumers now can enjoy any of the Ready to Eat or Ready to Cook Mon Salwa products of their choice without the hassle of spending hours in kitchen. From its modest initial production facility in Karachi back in 2001 Mon Salwa expanded its factory to Hub near Karachi and now our state-of-the-art production facility is in Sundar-Lahore, where products are manufactured as per global quality standards.
Mon Salwa’s belief in excellence, quality and its commitment to its consumers, enabled it to acquire globally accredited Quality Certifications including HSSC and BRC in 2015. In 2018, Pakistan Emerging Market Fund 1, Managed by Ijara Capital acquired the business. Mon Salwa products are now exported to countries across the globe including USA, UK, Europe, GCC, Australia etc. Mon Salwa is also sole distributor for world renowned McCain Fries brand in Pakistan.
PAGE: How significant is it to develop a brand and how does it help in winning the market share? Moreover kindly share with us the market penetration of Mon Salwa:
Rafiq Rangoonwala: Brand development is key to success in today’s world where increased competition and technological changes are rapidly changing and influencing consumers buying and product consumption related behaviour. With increase in numbers and contribution of Large Modern Trade, it’s imperative that the brand must stay connected with its key stake holders i.e., its ‘Customers’. This helps the company in getting desired leverage in negotiating availability and visibility at any Modern Trade.
The inflationary trends in market also make weaker brands vulnerable to losing their customer base as consumers are not willing to pay premium for weaker brands and might not accept price changes. Consumers can switch easily to stronger brands that are more in ‘Top of the Mind’ and ‘Brand Preference’. Mon Salwa is now present in over 76 cities across Pakistan and is available at over 1,500 related stores.
PAGE: Kindly tell us about the signature products of Mon Salwa. How does a company perform in case its flagship product is popular with the buyers?
Rafiq Rangoonwala: Mon Salwa has a number of Signature Products in Frozen Food category within the Key Driving sub-segments of the category. These include Chicken Nuggets, Crispy Chicken Shots in Breaded Chicken Segment. Chicken Seekh Kababs and Chicken Shami Kababs in BBQ and Kabab Segment. Plain Paratha in Paratha segment. When a company’s flagship product is popular among the customers, it gives company tremendous opportunity to further penetrate in consumers mind and trade space. It also provides opportunity to try and innovate with new products.
PAGE: Mon Salwa is driven by the belief that food should be artfully prepared, wholesome and safe. Kindly delineate:
Rafiq Rangoonwala: This belief forms the core concept behind all the products launched by Mon Salwa. From Chicken Nuggets to Chicken Seekh Kababs, and Chicken Shots to Chapli Kababs and even Parathas, all Mon Salwa products are made with the concept that our products excite the consumers with their delectable taste, are nutritious in values and also according to Local and Global Food Safety and Quality Standards.
PAGE: Could you tell us about the export of Mon Salwa products?
Rafiq Rangoonwala: Mon Salwa is exporting its products across the globe from USA, Canada to UK and major European countries, Australia, New Zealand and GCC etc. Over last 3 years, our exports have grown to double-digit every year.
PAGE: Your tag line is ‘Bring Taste To Life’. Kindly elaborate:
Rafiq Rangoonwala: Our brand Mon Salwa delivers to its customers value in terms of Taste, Quality and Convenience. This makes Mon Salwa play a very important role in their lives as it makes their lives more tasteful… for themselves and for their loved ones. By making Mon Salwa part of their lives, our consumers now have reach to exciting array of products, that can be relished within minutes at the comfort of their homes and even at schools and offices etc. as and when they like… With the trust of Quality and Safety. Convenience delivered tastefully to its consumers so that they can enjoy the time and efforts saved making their lives more tasteful.