British branding helps global food firm’s export success

Surya Foods managing director Harry Dulai, founder Kewal Dulai and chief executive Suki Dulai

Surya Foods managing director Harry Dulai, founder Kewal Dulai and chief executive Suki Dulai at the Surya Foods stand at Gulfood 2022 in Dubai - Credit: Surya Foods

A global foods company says its British branding is helping it in its bid to expand into other countries. 

Surya Foods, based in Harwich, is eyeing export growth for its range of rice, lentils, beans and flour products.

It showcased its range at Gulfood in Dubai – including some of its new products – in a bid to boost its sales in the Middle East.

The family firm – which enjoys global sale of £70m for its Laila brand alone – was founded by Kewal Dulai and is now run by sons Harry Dulai, its managing director, and Suki Dulai, its chief executive.

It used the show – where it has exhibited before – to showcase its top three UK rice brand Laila, its premium Humza frozen range and its snack brand Thai Dragon. 

Its stand also featured its Just Real snacks, Mystique sparkling drinks and Costa juices.

Harry Dulai said: “Despite the challenges, Brexit has given UK businesses a golden opportunity to move into global markets and that is what we intend to do. Our growth plans include taking our brands international. UK businesses are being encouraged to become key exporters and take British brands overseas. 

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“There is a marked appetite for British brands in the Middle East and we intend to use this platform to further generate new leads into those markets.”

The premium Laila range features its top-selling classic basmati and other rice varieties from around the world from premium jasmine to every day easy cook.

The Laila brand has expanded rapidly in recent years, moving into lentils, beans and flours with the launch of 19 new products in 2019. It has also launched Laila snacks, after setting up a snack production factory at its Harwich headquarters in 2019.

This month the brand expanded into spices with the launch of five new lines into Asda including tumeric, coriander, chilli and cumin powders and crushed chilli flakes under its Laila Naturals brand.

Its Humza frozen range features samosas, spring rolls, kebabs, grills, burgers, parathas, chapattis and frozen vegetables popular in halal cooking. It recently launched Humza VegeeZ range – a collection of 100% vegetarian, ready to cook snacks.

Its Thai Dragon brand was one of the UK’s fastest growing launch brands of 2020, having achieved annual sales of more than £6m in just two years.

Gulfood Dubai, considered the world’s largest annual food trade show, took place at the Dubai World Trade Centre from February 13 to 17.

The company is owned by the Flying Trade Group, which operates across the UK food and leisure industry. Its main subsidiary businesses include Surya Foods – which is one of the largest suppliers of authentic world foods in the UK – and Surya Hotels Ltd.

The rapidly-expanding business, which has a turnover of more than £170m and employs 1400 staff – around 200 of them at its Harwich HQ. It operates in more than 30 countries.