Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

Published in Sep-Oct 2019

Going for the premium cut

Introduced by Fauji Meat Limited, Zabeeha caters to a niche segment.

Pakistan’s branded meat market is growing as consumers become more aware about the importance of health and hygiene. As a result, an increasing number of people have started to buy meat from ‘branded’ outlets rather than their local butchers. Capitalising on this shift, there is a new player in Pakistan’s branded meat market: Fauji Meat Limited’s (FML) Zabeeha.

FML, which is part of the Fauji Group, began their journey by exporting meat in 2016. In April 2018, they entered the local market by establishing Zabeeha’s first outlet in Karachi’s Badar Commercial Area. The response, according to Muhammad Younus Usmani, Manager, Marketing & Sales, Zabeeha, was unexpectedly promising, as a result of which, the company has experienced a growth rate of more than 100% in the span of a year. Usmani says the company started by selling 200 tons of meat every day and now sells about 300 tons. They have also expanded their footprint by opening 15 branches in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. According to Usmani, Zabeeha’s approximate market share in the branded meat market started at four to five percent and currently stands at approximately 30%. (Zabeeha also have partnerships with e-commerce sites HumMart, Mandi Express and 24/7).

Usmani agrees that Zabeeha cater to a niche segment as they are one of the most expensive meat brands in the market; he attributes this to the high quality of the meat they offer. Incidentally, meat prices in general have incessantly risen this year despite an increased production of livestock (according to DAWN, beef and mutton meat production stood at 732,000 tons in 2018-2019 compared to 717,000 tons in 2017-18) because of the depreciation of the rupee.


Zabeeha are also working on an app which will allow customers to track their meat back to the animal it was sourced from. For example, if a customer scans a packet of minced meat, the app will show them a picture of the goat the minced meat is from and display details about the goat’s weight, breed and what it was fed.


Usmani adds that the branded meat market is small compared to the unbranded one, one of the reasons being that it is very difficult to change the habits of consumers long accustomed to buying meat from their neighbourhood butchers. He points out that of the 61 tons of meat produced every day in Pakistan, branded meat has a share of 13 to 14 tons. This means that branded meat (which includes outlets such as, Khaas Meat, Meat One, Zabeeha and local supermarkets such as Metro and Alfatah) constitutes a little over 20% of the overall market.

When asked what sets the brand apart from their competitors, Usmani says that Zabeeha only use FML’s state-of-the-art meat processing plant, which is located in Mirpur Sakro (Thatta), to slaughter and process meat and then transport it via air to Lahore and Islamabad. This ensures that the quality is consistent across all Zabeeha branches in the country. He explains that when meat is slaughtered in different cities (the practice among other meat retailers), the slaughterhouses are not necessarily owned by the companies themselves. Instead, government-owned abattoirs are used, which often lack proper sanitation facilities and this can compromise the quality of the output.

Another factor that gives Zabeeha an edge is that when the goats and cows arrive at the FML plant, they are put on a water-only diet for 24 hours, followed by a regular feed. The animals are slaughtered after 36 hours so that they are internally cleansed of chemicals or harmful substances. Zabeeha also choose their animals from specific parts of Pakistan, depending on the type of meat required, to ensure that the end product is of the highest quality.

“We know that certain goat breeds in Sindh, such as barabari and chapper, are better for meat production compared to goats in Punjab (such as beetal and khurasani) which are more suited to milk production. This is because Sindh has a better landscape for grazing. Hence, we choose goats from Sindh rather than Punjab.”

When asked how the company created customer awareness, Usmani says that “we knew from day one that if we lose even one customer, we lose. So we focused heavily on customer satisfaction.” Furthermore, whenever a new outlet opened, the company offered customers free giveaways (such as half a kilo of meat). “We gave people a challenge: ‘if you don’t have fun cooking our meat then bring it back.’ Our meat is so fresh it is automatically easier to cook.”

Zabeeha are also working on an app which will allow customers to track their meat back to the animal it was sourced from. For example, if a customer scans a packet of minced meat, the app will show them a picture of the goat the minced meat is from and display details about the goat’s weight, breed and what it was fed.

Although Zabeeha initially relied on word of mouth to introduce their brand, they recently advertised on digital, OOH and radio to publicise their qurbani services. While Zabeeha cater to both corporate and retail consumers, the qurbani project was directed specifically at SEC A males and females aged 30 to 45; young married couples and single, working women.

As for the future, Usmani says Zabeeha will open more branches within the next five to 12 months and plan to enhance their product line by launching marinated products and frozen foods. The company has signed a contract with Alfatah (Lahore), one of the largest departmental store chains in Pakistan, as well as with Canteen Stores Department (CSD), a Pakistani chain of retail stores headquartered in Rawalpindi, and they plan to focus on this aspect of the business as well.