Be aware of changing trends and new opportunities
> Free-from: According to findings by Euromonitor, there is a growing niche for free-from (gluten-free, lactose-free, etc), organic foods, diabetic products and functional products. This is largely due to increased awareness of issues surrounding health and food; 66% of men and 60% of women are considered to be overweight, and one fifth are diabetic, leading the government to seek solutions to improve public health. Such initiatives have included the Dubai Health Association which placed stationary bikes in all DHA facilities with the intention of later extending to other public spaces.
> Sports/fitness foods: Interest in health and fitness is especially prevalent among the younger population, where choosing to live and eat healthily is seen as an attractive lifestyle, and alongside this attitude the UAE is seeing an increase in sales of sports nutrition products, weight management products, and vitamin supplements. Sports nutrition products saw a 98.5% value growth from 2011 to 2016.
> Drinks: There is also a growing market for tea; the region makes up 25% of all global tea imports, and is largely dominated by traditional loose tea and traditional black tea, although popularity for green and herbal teas is increasing too. In other drinks categories, islamic restrictions on alcohol have led to a strong growth in non-alcoholic drinks, amongst which the demand for soft drinks is moving more towards healthier or flavoured drinks. Again, the climate is an influencing factor here and sales of bottled water are particularly important.
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*All data obtained from Euromonitor and BCB 2016 report, accessed August 2017