Clareto Monsorate, Dubai
Deans Fujiya Supermarket LLC has created a niche for itself in the UAE. Established in 2005, the supermarket is best known for selling Japanese food and non-food items like tables and kitchenware for hotels, restaurants and personal use.
Over the years, Deans Fujiya supermarket managed to create an international customer and client base.
“We cater not only to the Japanese, but also to people from the GCC, Europe, Philippines, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka … the list goes on. This has only happened because we are based in the UAE, which has the greatest percentage of mixed nationalities in the world,” the director of Deans Group Dhil Sreenivas told Arab News Japan.
He said that his father is very active in promoting the Deans Group in the Japanese community, via the Japanese Embassy in Dubai, and recently over the last couple of years through JETRO.
“My dad, Sreenivas Panikkan, now the Managing Director of Deans Group, was a General Manager for a Japanese Division of a major oil firm in Abu Dhabi,” Sreenivas said.
After trading in the wholesale of Japanese Foods and Non-Foods through Deans Trading Company WLL, which was the first company based and established in Abu Dhabi in 1991, Panikkan considered the idea of starting an all-Japanese products supermarket.
“He was fortunate enough to have Japanese friends and colleagues who shared their insights on Japanese foods,” Sreenivas said.
“He used his experience as the manager in understanding the market, getting contacts with Japanese companies and was able to gauge requirements from the Japanese community,” he added.
Panikkan’s rapport with the Japanese is so strong that till date he is invited every year to all major international food and non-food festivals in Japan.
“With each trip he gets more choices that would be suitable for the retail and wholesale market of Dubai. His hard work has led Deans Fujiya Supermarket LLC to be well known in Japan,” said his son.
“Our supermarket focuses primarily on quality. A good example of this is the latest diet fad, the Keto diet, which encourages the use of shirataki noodles (a popular Japanese noodle made from yams) as a substitute for various stir-fry dishes. The noodles themselves are a zero-calorie item and is favoured by most in this diet plan, and by those looking to reduce their caloric intake,” he said.
“The wheat flour (tempura batter mix), horseradish paste and powder (wasabi paste and powder), roasted seaweed sheets (sushinori — mainly used for sushi), sesame-flavoured dressings, rice vinegar, unsalted citrus juice (yuzu juice) for seasoning, and ramen noodles, are the most popular products for the Japanese and other nationalities.”
Sreenivas said if they continue to do well, they would like to expand their brand within the UAE.