According to Alpen Capital’s revised 2013 GCC Food Industry Report,  the GCC region will consume 49.1 million tonnes of food annually by the end of 2017, with the UAE to be the largest consumer in per capita terms.
“Population growth, increasing income per capita and a booming tourism industry are the main drivers offood consumption in the GCC region, while food is currently the largest segment of consumer expenditure in the entire region. All reports indicate a fast growing market, with consumer spending on food in the GCC expected to reach $106 billion in the next five years,” said Mohammed Jalal Al Rayssi, Director of Communication and Community Service at Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) and Chairman of the SIAL Middle East organising committee.
“This clearly underlines huge opportunities for private sector players  to expand within the region, and SIAL Middle East provides the all important stage to capitalise on the opportunities that lay ahead.”
Saudi Arabia currently consumes 872kg of food per capita, Qatar 852kg, Kuwait 634kg, and Bahrain 453kg per capita, while by 2017, per capita food consumption  for the entire region is forecasted to reach 983kg.
Owing to its considerably larger population, Saudi Arabia will continue to be the biggest food consumer by volume,  accounting for 59 per cent of the GCC food consumption by 2017 (29 million tonnes), while Qatar’s appetite will outpace that of other Gulf countries, increasing by five per cent by 2017 to reach two million tonnes.
“The report indicates over the next four years, the GCC region’s food consumption is expected to grow at a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 3.1 per cent, while the UAE’s per capita food consumption currently stands at 1,486kg per year — 27 per cent more than Oman, which consumes 1,095kg of food per capita annually,” Al Rayssi added.
More than 15,000 trade visitors are expected to attend SIAL Middle East 2013, the region’s fastest growing B2B event for food, drink and hospitality industries. The event will be held from November 24 to 26 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.
“Almost 65 per cent of the exhibitors at SIAL Middle East 2013 are new to the region to access this important market,” said Joanne Cook, SIAL Middle East director.
SIAL Middle East 2013 returns with a three-day conference, a hosted buyer programme, La Cuisine by SIAL international chef competition, and the prestigious SIAL Innovation Observatory, showcasing the world’s most innovative food and beverage products, including winners from the global competitions from events in China, Brazil, Canada and Paris.