Middle East and Africa to deliver ‘strongest’ growth for global F&B industry to 2021

Middle East and Africa to deliver ‘strongest’ growth for global F&B industry to 2021

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The Middle East and Africa (MEA) will deliver the strongest regional growth for the international food and beverage (F&B) industry, with Asia Pacific also holding ‘enticing’ prospects, according to the newly-released Gulfood Global Industry Outlook Report. The independent report was commissioned by Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) for the 23rd edition of Gulfood 2018, the world’s largest annual food and beverage trade event.

The report follows a Euromonitor International market study based on official published sources and trade surveys with local and global manufacturers, distributors, trade associations and government entities. The report cites high birth rates, rapidly expanding cities and growing employment as key factors behind the high potential in MEA and Asia Pacific, where combined consumer spend in the food beverage sector is forecast to rise to 60 percent of global expenditure by 2030, up from 53 percent today.

‘With greater distribution of wealth, growing economic and political stability and rapidly developing infrastructure, consumers have greater access to a wider range of foods and beverages,’ said the report, which adds that despite lower growth rates, the sheer size of the Asia Pacific population and disposable income growth also offers an enticing growth market in all categories.

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“The findings show that with a rapidly growing and highly urbanized population, demand across the globe for processed and packaged food and beverages is set to increase,” explained Trixie LohMirmand, senior vice president, exhibitions & events, DWTC.

The report highlights changing consumer patterns across geographies and age demographics. “As can be tracked annually at Gulfood, consumers are actively transitioning to healthier, more adventurous foods and beverages while still looking for convenient packaging and product delivery. Internet buying is also changing product delivery not just for home-delivery but also in terms of access to local brands and short order supply,” she said.

When it comes to key regional trends, cold chain services are changing MEA consumer choices as frozen processed halal meat and poultry, cold drinks and flavored milks increase in popularity.  Foodservice is also growing with the entry of many international chains influencing in-home consumption of more traditionally western food choices. Demand for portable bottled water is expanding in major cities particularly in the UAE and Saudi Arabia due to the high number of visitors and pilgrims. While young consumers, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, have adopted mobile and internet-based services as the key channel to communicate with brands and delivery services.

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