UAE – Unifrutti Group, a global fruit and vegetable company, has appointed experienced food industry executive Mohamed Elsarky as chief executive of the Abu Dhabi-headquartered business.

Elsarky has previously held roles including CEO of Kellogg’s Australia and New Zealand business, president of Pladis Biscuits in North America and CEO of Godiva Chocolatier.

Unifrutti – which is majority-owned by ADQ, an Abu Dhabi government-backed investment fund – will retain the previous interim CEO Simon Bevan as a member of the board of directors.

“I am thrilled to join Unifrutti at a time when the global fresh fruit market is expected to witness further expansion,” Elsarky said.

“Unifrutti’s globally integrated business model and long-standing commitment to fruit quality, sustainability and customer service make it truly unique and I look forward to contributing to its continued success in the years to come.”

Gil Adotevi, CEO of food and agriculture at ADQ and chairman of the board of directors of Unifrutti, said: “I am delighted to welcome a leader of Mohamed’s calibre and track record to the helm of Unifrutti.”

“As the group embarks on an exciting new chapter of growth, we are confident that Mohamed’s guidance and leadership will ideally place the business to achieve its ambitious plans.”

Founded in 1948 as a fruit-and-vegetable trader, Unifrutti sells approximately 700,000 tons of produce annually.

The company has more than 14,000 hectares of land at locations in Latin America, South Africa, Europe and Asia Pacific. It employs around 11,000 staff.

Unifrutti recorded a 2% increase in turnover to USD 720 million in 2021. EBITDA totaled USD78 million, with a gross profit margin of 17% and an adjusted EBITDA margin of 11%. The group made total investments of nearly USD 41 million for that year.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a significant market for fruits and vegetables. According to a report by Mordor Intelligence, the UAE’s fruit and vegetable market size was estimated to be USD 4.25 billion in 2023 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.20% to reach USD 6.30 billion by 2028.

The report highlights that the UAE’s consumer base is characterized by a large expatriate and immigrant population, which accounted for about 88% of the country’s overall population in 2018. 

“This diversity in preferences poses challenges to the UAE fresh produce market, but it also provides numerous opportunities for growth,” outlines the report. 

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