The recent report also indicated that since 2004, the UAE’s food consumption has grown briskly at a compound annual growth rate, or CAGR, of 6.2 per cent.
With rising population and affluence levels, the report forecast that food consumption in the UAE will grow at a CAGR of 4.2 per cent during 2012–17, thus continuing the current uptrend.
The current and expected consumption patterns in the UAE reflect an inclination towards high-value and protein-rich foods over the traditional food categories.
The report also found that the UAE has a considerably even consumption pattern across food categories. During 2012–17, it is expected that the meat (4.8 per cent) and milk (4.7 per cent) segments will register the highest growth, followed by fruits (4.7 per cent), vegetables (4.4 per cent), and cereals (2.6 per cent).
In addition, pulses, sugar, oil, fish, eggs and potatoes and are expected to collectively register a strong growth of 5.2 per cent during the period.
In terms of per capita food consumption, the UAE leads the GCC with per capita food consumption of 1,486.3kgs a year during 2010. This is primarily due to the fact that the UAE has the highest inflow of tourists among all GCC nations, besides having a lower income disparity, which is the second lowest in the GCC, resulting in a more uniform food distribution among the population.
While the UAE accounts for 20 per cent of the total food consumption in the region, the report revealed that its production only accounts for 12.1 per cent of the total GCC production. This signifies the UAE’s heavy reliance on imports to meet its domestic requirements.
In 2010, the UAE produced 1.4 million tonnes of food across all categories. Since 2002, total food production in the UAE has increased at a CAGR of 0.03 per cent, the lowest in the GCC region. Currently, domestic food production in UAE accounts for only 17.7 per cent of its domestic consumption. In 2010, the UAE produced 0.13 million tonnes of milk, accounting for only 25.5 per cent of its consumption. During the same year, the UAE produced 0.3 million tonnes of vegetables, accounting for 19.5 per cent of the total domestic consumption.