Award Deli specializes in quality foods for UAE's online shoppers

Vasso Kousathana, founder of Award Deli
Vasso Kousathana, founder of Award Deli
Award Deli, Dubai’s latest online grocer, attempts to take the guesswork out of buying new products with a delivery concept that only deals in award-winning products.

According to founder Vasso Kousathana, UAE residents waste an incredible amount just trying products, only to be disappointed by the quality and taste.

“Award Deli is bridging this gap,” she said. “Rather than the consumers having to rely on word of mouth, purchase experiments or subjective recommendations, they can now simply make their purchase decision based on the best taste, guaranteed by the awards the products have won.”

Many consumers are moving to online shopping, according to an eMarketer report by Nielsen, but only 18 percent of UAE respondents prefer to buy their groceries online. Still, the booming food retail industry promises real opportunity for savvy entrepreneurs.

According to a report titled “A Generous Helping of Food Retail Growth in the GCC” by management consulting company A.T. Kearney, the food retail industry in the Gulf Council Countries will grow to an estimated $106 billion dollars by 2017, with the UAE representing 24 percent of that figure.

Many entrepreneurs are merging technology with the food industry hoping to become the next big exit in the GCC. Earlier this year, Berlin-based e-commerce group Rocket International acquired, Kuwait’s online delivery portal, for $170 million.

UAE has one of the largest online markets in terms of sales, and one of the best infrastructures for business-to-consumer e-commerce. The country has a 96 percent Internet penetration rate, and the highest payment card penetration in the GCC.

For Kousathana, the best way to break into the market is to ensure a level of quality in her products. Award Deli only procures products that have been recognized through a nomination or prize at internationally renowned competitions like the Global Cheese Awards, New York International Olive Oil Competition, and The international Chocolate awards.

She has also had to differentiate Award Deli from other well-known, online grocery stores in Dubai., an online supermarket launched in 2012, now sees double-digit growth year-to-year. International supermarket chain Geant began offering products online in 2013, and LuLu Hypermarket just invested $5 million on a digital revamp that includes click-and-collect service and home delivery.

To ensure continued success, the team at Award Deli extend their high standards to consumer experience on the website. Food experts are available to answer all questions and provide assistance when possible, and the buying process is short.

“From ordering to delivery, our clients experience not only the award winning products but also my view, of an award-winning service,” Kousathana said.