UAE Food Sector Sales Poised to Reach USD 16.7 BN by 2020

Dubai World Trade Centre's trio of specialised food events driving growth in gourmet, seafood and confectioneries.

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UAE food event
UAE food event

UAE food sales are projected to grow by an annual average of 7.3 per cent between 2015 and 2020, according to a new BMI report commissioned by Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) and released in tandem with the opening of its annual trio of specialist foods shows, which run until Wednesday 9 November.

In addition to underlining the country’s standing as the GCC’s second largest food market, the findings add further impetus to the relevance of DWTC’s trio of finished food events – The Speciality Food Festival, Yummex Middle East and SEAFEX – as strategic investment and sourcing platforms for the regional food retail and hospitality industries.

With more than 700 local, regional and international food suppliers from over 60 countries showcasing thousands of specialist food products in front of an anticipated audience of 15,000 international buyers at this week’s specialist food events, the report cites growing domestic demand for speciality gourmet, seafood and confectionery foods as the primary drivers of sustained long-term growth.

The heightened domestic demand for niche food products is reflected in 10 per cent growth across the three shows, according to Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Exhibitions & Events Management, DWTC.

“Our well-established finished food platforms have yielded double-digit year-on-year growth in terms of floor space and total exhibitor participation this year,” said LohMirmand. “This growth highlights the strategic significance that global food suppliers place on the UAE as both a lucrative sales market and re-export hub to the wider region.”

The Speciality Food Festival – Higher demand for gourmet and premium foods

Owing to high income levels and rising affluence among UAE consumers, the report suggests ‘premiumisation’ will spur the domestic food industry’s growth until the end of the decade. The claim is supported by the fact the average UAE household spends more on premium and gourmet products than equivalent households in the US, Japan, the UK, Korea, and China.

With approximately 26 per cent of UAE households forecasted to earn more than USD 75,000 in 2017 and the average household earning predicted to increase by 27.8 per cent by 2020, The Speciality Food Festival provides an opportunity for food retailers and hospitality providers to access thousands of innovative new products that are destined for supermarket shelves and restaurant tables in the near future.

The Speciality Food Festival will feature 200-plus exhibitors from over 50 countries, including new country pavilions and a broad portfolio of international and local buyers, suppliers, producers, importers & exporters of gourmet, halal and organic products.

UAE food sales are projected to grow by an annual average of 7.3 per cent between 2015 and 2020, according to a new BMI report commissioned by Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC)

SEAFEX – Seafood sector primed for positive growth

The UAE’s seafood demand is also set for rapid growth over the next four years, with an eight per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in fish and fish product sales in the UAE alone leading up to 2020. The report cites growth across all three sub-sectors of consumable seafood: fish, shellfish and preserved fish, and other preserved or processed fish and seafood, at annual average rates of 8.2 per cent, 7.9 per cent and 6.3 per cent, respectively, by 2020.

SEAFEX 2016 will feature more than 145 exhibitors from more than 25 countries. This year’s show is spread across 4,500 square metres – up 12.5 per cent on last year – with new exhibitors from the UK, Norway, the USA, the UAE and Vietnam.

Yummex Middle East – Surging confectionery sales

The UAE’s confectionary sector is also anticipated to grow with total chocolate and sweets sales growing by 6.2 per cent CAGR by 2020 and per capita sales rising by an annual average of 4.7 per cent over the same period.

With the country’s burgeoning confectionery segment boosted by major international market players such as Mars and Nestle operating local production facilities, the report indicates further growth will come from premium chocolate producers establishing new production facilities in the Emirates. Russian chocolatier Goldberg is due open an automation-led production facility in the UAE before the end of this year.

The 10th edition of Yummex Middle East, formerly known as Sweets & Snacks Middle East and held in partnership with Koelnmesse GmbH, will host over 350 companies from 46 countries this year. Yummex Middle East will span over 10,000 square metres of space – 18 per cent up on last year.

New features, major buyers, historic partners

This year’s events will also debut the Global Date Market – a specialist sourcing platform for date products that will unite the region’s leading date producers with top hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and other end sellers. Sponsored by the Saudi Export Development Authority (SEDA), The Global Date Market will display over 200 date varieties from more than 50 global producers across the UAE and the wider GCC, as well as Europe, Asia and America.

In-line with increased food sector growth in the UAE, DWTC’s trio of niche food events will welcome a roster of top-level sourcing delegations includes representatives from Carrefour UAE, Jumeirah Group, Spinneys, Waitrose, Dubai Duty Free, Rotana Group, Emirates Flight Catering, Manuel Supermarket and Dubai Mall among others.

Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) has also signed a landmark partnership with the Italian Trade Agency (ICE) – the official government organisation which promotes Italian companies internationally – that will see the best Italian food and drink producers participate at DWTC’s trio of specialist food events this year.
DWTC’s trio of niche food events are open daily from 10am-5pm until 9 November 2016 and are for trade and business professionals only. General public and persons under the age of 21 will not be permitted entry. Registration is available at the show upon proof of trade status.

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