Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

Published in Jan-Feb 2021

A Vision to Diversify

Interview with Usman Khalil Noon, CEO, Kanas and Director, Tehzeeb Bakers.

MAMUN M. ADIL: When was Tehzeeb Bakers established?
USMAN KHALIL NOON: Tehzeeb Bakers was established in 1994. However, our family’s legacy dates back to more than a hundred years as my grandfather, who lived in Simla before Partition, used to make bread there at Roti Godown. Since then, our family has been involved in the bakery business as he established a bakery when he came to Pakistan in 1948.

MMA: How has Tehzeeb Bakers grown over the years?
UKN: We re-branded Tehzeeb Bakers in 2012, when the third generation of our family took over the reins. We now have nine branches in Islamabad and Rawalpindi, one of which was opened last year. We planned to set up an outlet in Lahore in 2020, but could not do so due to the Covid-19 pandemic; we hope to open it this year and another one in Faisalabad.

MMA: How has Tehzeeb Bakers’ product range diversified over the years?
UKN: When we started out, our range was limited to basic breads and traditional bakery biscuits. Today, we have more than 200 products and they include burgers, cakes, pizzas, salads and sandwiches. Furthermore, we bake a wide variety of breads such as focaccia, baguettes and sourdough and various types of pastries and biscuits such as biscottis and cranberry cookies.

MMA: When was Safilo, your ice-cream brand, established?
UKN: We started to introduce ice-cream parlours inside our outlets in the early 2000s. In addition to home-made ice-cream, the parlours also serve milkshakes and juices. Our vision has been to diversify and enter new categories. As a result, we are able to cater to upper- and middle-class customers due to the variety of our products.

MMA: Who would you consider to be your competitors?
UKN: Tehzeeb is not only a bakery, we have burger and pizza divisions, as well as ice-cream parlours, so we compete with businesses other than just bakeries which is why we consider burger and pizza joints our competitors as well. By diversifying, we have redefined the bakery business – and no one can really compete with us due to the wide variety of products we offer.

MMA: How much emphasis do you place on training?
UKN: I am a French culinary school graduate and am very involved with the overall operations of our bakery. As we are very particular about the quality of our products, we send our chefs for training overseas on a regular basis and hold weekly training sessions in Pakistan. We also invest in workshops for our employees that are led by experts from countries such as Singapore.

MMA: How do you promote Tehzeeb bakers?
UKN: As our outlets are limited to Islamabad and Rawalpindi, we rely more on social media and in-store promotions and activities.

MMA: Tehzeeb introduced Kanas ketchup in 2014. What led you to do so?
UKN: We started producing Kanas ketchup and initially we used to serve it with our pizzas and burgers in sachets. The response was so promising that we started selling it at our outlets and this proved to be successful. As a result, we invested in distributing it in supermarkets as we saw that there was a gap in the market and a demand for high-quality condiments and variety; for the most part, people usually consume ketchup or chilli garlic sauce. This is why we introduced five varieties of ketchup (including barbeque, jalapeño and Sriracha) to provide more choices to the average consumer. Similarly, our mayonnaise is available in different flavours.

MMA: How has the Kanas brand grown over the years?
UKN: We have over 30 condiments on offer under the Kanas umbrella, and in addition to ketchup and mayonnaise (our best-selling products) we manufacture ice-cream syrups, jams, mustard, salad dressings, sandwich spreads, soy sauce and vinegar. We also became the first company in Pakistan to make Sriracha sauce.

MMA: Why are Kanas products relatively more expensive compared to other locally made ones?
UKN: Because of the quality we provide, which is at par with international standards, and we have invested heavily to ensure this. We import tomato paste and tomatoes from European countries such as Italy. Similarly, the eggs we use in our mayonnaise is sourced from Europe. Furthermore, we have invested in our packaging to ensure that it stands out.

MMA: Where is Kanas distributed?
UKN: Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and we recently introduced it in Karachi, where it is available at large-scale supermarkets such as Chase Up and Naheed Supermarket. We are increasing the availability of our products in Sindh and are planning to roll out an advertising campaign on traditional media and holding sampling activities. So far, the response has been promising and if things go as planned, by next year, we should be among the most popular condiment brands in Pakistan.

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