Unilever reveals expansion plans in the region

Press release
Published May 24th, 2011 - 07:34 GMT
Tim Drury, Vice President Supply Chain of Unilever and Ibrahim Al Janahi, Deputy CEO of Jafza, during the signing
Tim Drury, Vice President Supply Chain of Unilever and Ibrahim Al Janahi, Deputy CEO of Jafza, during the signing

Unilever, one of the world's largest Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies revealed today that it will be expanding its state-of-the-art Lipton tea manufacturing facility, located in Jafza in Dubai, to meet the rising demand for tea in the region.

Despite the turbulent economic and business conditions, Unilever continues to invest in one of its biggest and globally renowned brands, Lipton. The expansion will enable the Lipton Tea Factory to increase its production capacity of both black and green tea to cope up with the rapidly growing consumer demand.

According to Tim Drury, Vice President Supply Chain, Unilever North Africa, Middle East and Central Africa, “The number of tea cups consumed annually in this part of the world is approximately 13.4 billion”; making the region one of the highest tea per capita consumption regions around the world today.

In the period between 2004 and 2007, tea was growing at a modest pace of over 5% but today, the tea category is growing with a constant double-digit growth. The rapid growth of the non-black tea segments has also helped drive Unilever’s expansion plans.

“In the last 5 years, we have introduced Green tea, Chai Latte and lately the Pyramids tea bags which all received an overwhelming response from our consumers in the region. The non-black tea market segment fosters our confidence in growth in the years to come,” adds Drury.

The Lipton tea factory in Jafza is Unilever’s second largest tea manufacturing plant in the world, producing an astonishing 1 million tea bags per hour. This excludes the other variants of tea such as loose tea that the factory produces.

Ibrahim Mohamed Al Janahi, Deputy CEO, Jafza and Chief Commercial Officer said: “The MENA region represents a vital market for tea manufacturers and we commend Unilever for their business foresight in further expanding their state-of-the-art tea manufacturing facility in Jafza, their 2nd largest tea production facility in the world. The Lipton plant reflects the company’s continued trust and confidence in the UAE and Jafza. The company has grown from strength to strength since it set up base with us 18 years ago and we remain committed to supporting the success of such a valued and long-standing partner.”

Until 1998, the tea for the Arabian markets was sourced from the United Kingdom. The strategic geographical location between tea growing areas and the world’s largest tea markets encouraged Unilever to establish its first fully automated tea factory in 1998 in Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai. While the factory was originally conceived to supply to the local markets, the site has since grown in capacity and geographic reach.  With production volumes increasing from 5000 Tons to over 25,000 Tons in 10 years, the site is today a global sourcing hub exporting tea to over 41 countries worldwide.

Over the years, the Lipton Tea Factory has developed tremendously, not only in terms of the volumes it generates but also with regards to its manufacturing excellence. Quality and consistency remains the cornerstone of the site’s manufacturing strategy which ensures that loyal Lipton consumers receive a great product every time.

Background Information


Every day, 2.5 billion people use Unilever products to feel good, look good and get more out of life. With more than 400 brands bought in 190 countries, we have a unique opportunity to work with consumers to make sustainable living commonplace.

Jebel Ali Free Zone

We are the leading Free Zone of the region that lies at the centre of trade and is part of a unique ecosystem that offers end to end solutions and growth opportunities to businesses that operate locally and globally.
With all the right resources in one place, Jafza has the foundation for you to tap into fresh opportunities with suppliers, trade partners and logistics providers to reduce your costs and increase your profits.

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