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Steady growth for Middle East F&B market this year

The food and beverage (F&B) markets in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will register steady growth throughout 2020 said global intelligence firm, Frost and Sullivan. Findings from the firm’s 2020 Outlook of the KSA and UAE F&B Market reveal that overall expenditure on F&B in the UAE is estimated to increase by 6.9% year-on-year (YoY), reaching US$37 billion in 2020 from $34.6 billion in 2019. Meanwhile, the report said KSA is likely to witness 5.4% YoY growth, which translates to $50.6 billion over the same timeframe — totalling over $80 billion for both markets.
According to Prithvijit Roy, Food & Nutrition Consultant at Frost & Sullivan, rising health awareness, product differentiation, and convenience of online food platforms are key factors driving the F&B market in the KSA and UAE.
"Additionally, served as a centre-of-plate item, cereals continue to be the most consumed food item in both nations. Followed by value-added dairy products, fruits and vegetables, and meat-based products,” Roy explained. By focusing on alternatives (such as organic, whole-wheat, and gluten-free products) and fortified foods, the majority of F&B market leaders are achieving higher margins and revenues.
"Increasing awareness and attempts by governments to curb the intake of unhealthy food items will push the demand for organic and balanced foods,” Roy said.
To take advantage of the F&B market in the KSA and UAE, F&B vendors should focus on the following opportunities, said Frost & Sullivan:
  • Demand for packaged food is surging at a rapid pace with the changing lifestyles in both countries.
  • There is a growing awareness of organic food and increasing adoption of different cuisines due to Dubai's sizeable expatriate population.
  • A shift toward domestic production will help achieve food sufficiency and security per Saudi Vision 2030 and UAE National Food Security Strategy 2051.
  • The agriculture segment will adopt the Internet of Things (IoT) for food processing and traceability.
  • Meat processing, dairy, and confectionery segments are becoming increasingly attractive to foreign investors.
  • Increased social media participation from the younger population and financial independence will drive consumer preferences toward premium products, offering a unique consumption experience.

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