I interviewed Kunal Gupta who discussed Food Supply Chain.







1. Please provide a brief background of yourself


Professionally - A specialist in Food and Beverage Supply Chain Management, I head the Global Supply Chain of Bateel Group that has operations in 15 countries from US to Middle East to South East Asia.


I have been instrumental in opening and managing almost 200 F&B outlets (amongst Bateel, Godiva, Tim Hortons, Coldstone Creamery and Sbarro Pizza) across Middle East and UK region over past 6-7 years.


Academically – I am an Engineer by first qualification and then MBA.


Personally – Happily married for about 10 years with 5-year-old twins based in Dubai. Travel and food continue to be my greatest passion that gets me going every morning


2. What is the food supply chain?


Supply Chain is Supply Chain – Weather for food or non-food.


As per Wikipedia


A supply chain is a system of organizations, people, activities, information, and resources involved in moving a product or service from supplier to customer.


Food Supply Chain has a few additional parameters which make it challenging and more interesting at the same time.


  - Temperature

  - Humidity

  - Shelf Life

  - Health Regulatory Requirements -


Starts with Planning and goes into every node of Supply Chain like Logistics, Storage and Distribution.


3. What are the challenges and opportunities?


Various challenges mainly resulting in Food Fraud

As per PricewaterhouseCoopers 2016 report, food fraud is estimated to be a $40 billion a year problem.

World Health Organization estimates that nearly 1 in 10 people become ill every year from eating contaminated food.


Some of the Challenges and their corresponding opportunities are 


a) 1stChallenge - Lack of transparency and communications

Trace your hamburger from farm to fork may involve tracing your lettuce back to the farm in which it was grown, tracing the beef back to the cattle (with no guarantee, that the end product is 100% beef)


Opportunities –


     - IOT Devices that provide real time traceability for shipments. These provide information on not only Location but also Temperature, Humidity, Jerks, other variations, alerts etc


     - More notably the blockchain, highlights the potential to introduce more trust in our food supply chain. Blockchain is a transformative tool in the fight against food fraud, allowing an open and transparent ledger of our food products journey.



   b)     2nd Challenge - Traceability

Can we trace the roots of our food and how authentic are the claims by food producers and distributors


Opportunities –


     -Global Certifications and Standardisation Bodies – Halal Certification in this part of the world, SGS, Ecolabels for sea food etc


   c)  3rd Challenge - Not common Food Regulations globally


Dubai Municipality in UAE, SFDA in KSA to FDA in US. All have different and varying requirements which makes movement of products very difficult globally.


Opportunities –


     -Legislation regarding food labelling could also be more stringent,


     -Tighter legislation, leading to significant punitive measures taken against defaulters found to be committing fraud, would be a vital catalyst in ensuring that food in our supply chain is as secure as possible.


4. Do you have any success stories for effectively managing the food supply chain?


Measure of Success in Supply Chain – Food Supply Chain – Especially in F&B sector


     - Operate perfectly between 2 variables

     - a) Under-supply/ Product Run-out – Loss of sales – Top line

     - b) Over-Supply -/ Expiry – Hits your bottom line as it is additional cost


     1) Tim Hortons – 4.


       - Very massive expansion plans in 2012/2013 – Over 50 restaurants in GCC

       - Issue was to match up inventory management to rapid growth– Under and over stock problem


     Success - Within one quarter with planning and forecasting changes, achieved 99.9% fill rate and minimal expiry


    2) Godiva –


    Issue - Chocolate too sensitive for transportation. Most by Air shipments from Belgium to ME Region

    Success – Demand Planning Cycle change and Finding right Equipment ( Sea Containers with Humidity control and tracking)

    Air to Sea project – Save a few hundred thousand dollars annually on freight cost



About Kunal Gupta







Kunal Gupta


Director of Supply Chain for Bateel's Global Operations


LinkedIn Profile