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Dubai Chamber briefing highlights growth prospects for UAE F&B sector

The UAE’s food and beverage sector is expected to record steady growth over the next four years, supporting the country’s fast growing population and increasing consumer demand for halal, organic and specialty food products.

Growth prospects for the sector were highlighted during the Gulfood Breakfast Briefing, an event which was hosted by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Monday.

The briefing, organised on the sidelines of Gulfood 2018, was attended by 200 delegates from 13 countries, including ambassadors and representatives from Dubai’s business community.

Presentations during the event shed light on new trends and business opportunities within the UAE’s fast-growing food and beverage sector, and identified specific areas within the market that offer the most investment and trade potential.

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Research says

According to recent forecasts from Euromonitor International, fresh food sales in the UAE are projected to reach AED 28.9 billion this year, and grow further to hit AED 34 billion by 2021. Within the fresh vegetables category, AED 6.2 billion worth of sales are expected in 2018, and this figure is seen to rise further to AED 7.4 billion in 2021.

The value of soft drink sales in the country, estimated to reach AED 8.2 billion in 2018, is projected to surge to AED 9.9 billion by 2021, according to a recent forecast from Business Monitor International. Growing demand seen by the UAE’s restaurants and fast food chains is expected to boost sales within this segment to AED 33.2 billion in 2018 and AED 40 billion in 2021.

Among the top products expected to see the highest sales growth are bananas, which are forecast to record a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.8% between 2017 and 2021, followed by canned fruit and fruit-based products, (8.7%) and cabbage (8%).

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The sale of meat products in the UAE is expected to record a CAGR of 7.4% between 2017 and 2021, followed by vegetables (6.3%), and nuts (5.9%). A CAGR of 11% is forecast for fresh coffee sales in the country over the same period, while green tea, black tea, and instant coffee products are expected to record growth rates of 10.3%, 6.2% and 2.7%, respectively.

Experts say

During his welcome speech, Mr. Hassan Al Hashemi, Vice President of International Relations at Dubai Chamber, explained that the briefing aimed to provide an ideal opportunity for visiting businessmen to learn more about Dubai’s economy and business environment, as well as the unique advantages that the emirate can provide food suppliers and exporters.

Mr. Al Hashemi noted that more food brands and products, franchises and restaurants are entering the local market, while international manufacturers are increasingly making Dubai an integral part of their expansion strategies.

He pointed out that there is strong interest among companies from Eurasia, Africa, and Latin America that are keen to cooperate with Dubai on food security and use the emirate as a re-export hub to reach surrounding markets, adding that evidence of this could be seen in the number of exhibitors at Gulfood which continues to grow every year.

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For his part, Mr. Omar Khan, Director of International Offices, Dubai Chamber, gave an overview of Dubai’s economy and its growth prospects for the future. In addition, he highlighted key sectors that contribute the most to the emirate’s economic growth such as trade, tourism, logistics, and finance, while presenting detailed information on the wide range of value-adding services provided to Dubai Chamber members and the local business community.