Saudi Arabia accounts for more than half of the market share, followed by the UAE with 31%. Kuwait, which is the third largest F&B market in the region, is set to witness the fastest expansion at 9.6% per year.
The food and beverage products’ segment, characterised by a large presence of international brands, either manufactured regionally through local factories or imported through distributors, accounts for the lion’s share of the market at 70%. However, the foodservice segment, led by international chains represented by regional franchise partners, is set to outperform the sector’s growth, expanding by 8.4% annually until 2021.
Anthony Hobeika, Chief Executive Officer at MENA Research Partners, said ahead of Gulf Food 2018, "This surge is driven by the growth in disposable income, a shift from dining-in to dining-out and a trading up in the dining-out habits and preferences. Also, catering concepts fueled by home and office delivery and online food ordering are gaining popularity. Moreover, higher health awareness, as a result of the prevalence of chronic diseases in the GCC, has led to a growing demand for healthy foods and allergen-free products."
Government policy initiatives, such as Saudi Arabia’s 50 percent tax on carbonated soft drinks and 100 percent tax on energy drinks, are driving consumers towards more attractive healthier options.
Among rising trends, the GCC’s booming population and growing tourism influx will also continue to influence the exponential rise of the region’s food and beverage industry in the coming years.