BMB feeds consumer appetite for ‘healthy yet indulgent’ bite-sized snacks

By Louise Tester |


Left: Sagar S. Maniar, Sales Manager – Global Travel Retail of BMB. Right: Baklava is a ‘top choice’ for travellers, says the company.

Travelling consumers are looking to fill up on smaller, healthier snacks, according to Dubai-headquartered food conglomerate BMB.

“Due to our modern busy lifestyles, today’s consumers are starting to demand healthier snacks that are both indulgent and healthy,” said Sagar S. Maniar, Sales Manager – Global Travel Retail of BMB, which has a portfolio of chocolate, Mediterranean sweets, healthy snacks and other food brands.

“We are now turning to snacks to serve as meal replacements, and often choose multiple smaller snacks to satisfy our hunger. Whether it’s for portion control or convenience, we are looking to indulge in bite sizes.

“The health movement has reached travel retail as witnessed by Dufry’s recent introduction of its new Mind, Body & Soul global shop-in-shop concept at Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, Jordan,” he added.

“Many more locations are to follow in 2023 and other retailers are also exploring similar concepts and opportunities within their stores.”

BMB’s baklava is a ‘top choice’ for travellers, says Maniar, with more than 50% of purchases in travel retail driven by gifting. Yet the company is also exploring opportunities for smaller boxes of its products for personal snacking.

Its health snacks brand, Freakin’ Healthy, targets those who intend to opt for healthier options, yet may be ‘intimidated’ by the choices.


BMB has a portfolio of chocolate, Mediterranean sweets, healthy snacks and other food brands.

Travel retail is a key focus for the BMB group. Before the pandemic, its products were available in almost 20 locations across the Middle East and Levant region. Today, the company is listed with 14 accounts across the MENA region.

It is taking a three-pronged approach to reaching its goals. The first is exhibiting its products at TFWA’s events in Singapore and Cannes with a view to meeting ‘potential new buyers’.

Secondly, BMB is pursuing NPDs in H2 to target new markets in ‘untapped regions’ (such as Asia Pacific, Europe and Africa).

Finally, BMB aims to ramp-up activations and promotional activities within existing accounts to ‘increase footfall and encourage conversion’ within its niche segment of confectionery and food.

“The biggest opportunity for us at present is opening new doors for our products in Europe and Asia Pacific,” says Maniar.

“Innovation and speed are two of our key strengths and we aim to capitalise on this by offering customers new and exciting products which can help them increase the food category as a whole.” Sagar S. Maniar, Sales Manager – Global Travel Retail, BMB

What sounds simple in theory, however, can be more complex in reality.

“The biggest challenges we face are convincing buyers how baklava can add value to their confectionery/food category and getting adequate space on shelf to showcase our full range,” says Maniar.

“Thankfully, we have strong success stories with Dubai Duty Free and Qatar Duty Free, which we are able to share to get buyer alignment.”

Maniar was asked about potential stakeholder collaboration to create a ‘super food’ category comprising confectionery and food to strengthen the overall proposition and drive sales. He is enthused about the possibilities, but notes that stakeholder input is important.

For BMB, working together to keep the proposition fresh and engaging is fundamental to boosting business.

Says Maniar: “Suppliers need to be more creative when it comes to promotional activities instead of offering the standard ‘buy two, get one free’.”

He also highlights exclusives and LEPs as a point of differentiation.

“Suppliers must also carefully manage the ever-present dilemma of expiry dates, which many other categories don’t have to deal with,” he adds.

This story is an edited version of a feature that appeared in the TRBusiness February 2023 e-zine


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