Dubai Chamber briefing highlights growth prospects for UAE food and beverage sector

The event, which was organised on the sidelines of Gulfood 2017, focused on new trends and grow opportunities within the UAE’s fast-growing food and beverage sector, and specific areas within the market that offer the most potential for foreign investment and trade.

During his welcome speech, Mr. Atiq Juma Nasib, Senior Vice President of Commercial Services at Dubai Chamber, outlined various advantages that Dubai provides food suppliers and exporters around the world, including the emirate’s strategic geographic location, which enables its trade partners to easily access markets across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, in addition to its world-class logistics infrastructure and investor-friendly business environment.

He highlighted the tremendous potential that the global halal food industry can offer food businesses, noting that Dubai is at the forefront of this industry as it works to unify standards for halal products. He explained that the emirate has made considerable headway in positioning itself as the global capital of the Islamic economy in line with the vision of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

Mr. Nasib said the positive outlook for the UAE’s food and beverage sector is supported by the country’s fast-growing population, thriving tourism market, rising household spending, and growing acceptance of healthy and organic food products among consumers. He added that these trends present plenty of new opportunities, especially within the trade of halal meat and ready-to-drink coffee, which are two of the fastest-growing product categories.

Fresh food sales in the UAE are projected to reach AED 30 billion in 2017, marking a steady increase from AED 27 billion in 2016, according to recent estimates from Business Monitor International that were highlighted in a presentation during the event.

Sales of canned food products are expected to reach AED 19 billion during the same timeframe. The sales value of tea and coffee products sold within grocery stores is expected to surge to AED 4.4 billion by 2020, while growing demand for organic food products is expected to significantly boost sales in this category to AED 145 billion in the same year.

Addressing delegates during the event, Amina Ahmed Mohamed, Executive Director of Emirates Global Center for Accreditation, spoke about the role of accreditation in the halal food industry, and the Centre’s efforts to ensure that all products that are certified as halal actually comply with Islamic law. She added that establishing an internationally recognised trademark would stand to expand the trade of halal food products around the world.

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.