From the Persian Gulf the new category management of the ultra-fresh

In search of top commercial results, several saudi manufacturers are implementing a new concept of Category Management, focusing on furnishings owned by them and an assortment that is Consumer Centric.

Unlike most long-life food product categories, fresh and ultra-fresh are categories that for too long have been using a Category approach (and display) considered outdated, based the brand and defined generally by distribution signs. This paradigm, which still has considerable acknowledgement in Italy, could now switch over to a new model that comes directly from the Persian Gulf.

The scenario

In addressing Category projects together with distribution signs, producers present in the large Italian distribution chains are finding themselves dealing with many operational problems ranging from a lack of sharing of information on the total of a category from the distributor to the structural inhomogeneity of the structures from one sales point to another. Unlike the Italian scenario, where the fresh and ultra-fresh categories are managed by distribution chains in a traditional manner – except for meager Category projects promoted and led by the producer in turn in accordance with the interested brand -, in the Gulf area it is more than evident that the large production brands are the owners of the refrigerated sections present in the sales points of the local distribution. If this were also to occur in Italy, the scenario would become of further interest, for each producer could personally customize their own section in order to make the most of the categories it competes in.


Through Category Management, producers, and even more so owners of stands placed inside sales points should integrate within their own process of analysis and category management, messages of communication they intend to apply to the organization of the sales area in order to improve the consumer buying process, while leveraging the entire category. For producers of fresh and ultra-fresh the objective is twofold: on the one hand, to be able to define an assortment in line with demand and, on the other hand, present this assortment in a display that can be optimized at its best. These two specular processes will tend to improve the performances of the individual producer but, indirectly, will benefit the entire category. Ignoring this approach would result in the danger of being faced with a growing number of ‘lost sales’ and the issues relating to the management of expired products.


The advocate producers of this new model of the management of category and space management processes have to confront with issues relating to the management of exhibition space, an aspect that, in Italy and beyond, is purely the responsibility of the distributor. For the producer this signifies many opportunities such as, for example, the possibility to define a planogram through designated software solutions to formulate an explanatory proposal that is specific for a given sales point including all the assortment and physical details of the sales point of interest. On the other hand, in order to be able to better manage the thus conceived category process, the producers need to be able to manage non-secondary aspects, such as: the proper storage of an assortment in the precise quantities required by the specific sales point; the definition of the correct sizing of the refrigerated section of the specific sales point with regards to demand, through the use of special calculation tools and the ability to select a proposal of an assortment in line with the demand of the sales point and, above all, a sustainable level of supply.

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