Middle East food marketers face new challenges
Arabian Gulf countries are net importers of food, their populations are growing, incomes are rising and shopping habits and tastes are changing. These are just some of the challenges facing the Middle East food industry as it fights for space on the region's “dinner table,” say the organizers of the region's first Food Marketing Forum.
With the populations of Gulf countries generally a melting pot of nationalities, there is a hugely varying range of shopping habits with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Dubai in particular, the most western in style.
Together the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states enjoy some of the world's highest per capita incomes and population growths and provide a total food market conservatively estimated at more than $35 billion.
Nowhere is the growth in population more marked than in Saudi Arabia with numbers expected to rise to 30 million by 2010. The young Saudi population also has an average family size of 6.5 people. No wonder with an ever-growing number of mouths to feed, Saudi Arabia is the Middle East's largest food import market – annually importing around five billion dollars worth of goods from around the world.
Major changes in the Saudi Arabian retailing environment with the expected arrival of big international groups, the changing demographic profile and challenges to the traditional supply chain, are to be highlighted by Kieran O'Brien, a director of IMES Consulting, which has carried out hundreds of food marketing studies in the Middle East.
The world-leading packaging company Tetra Pak will underline the importance of good packaging in marketing food and beverages and Landor, the international experts in branding, will be showing how to develop a successful food brand which stands out from the crowd. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)
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