Strong consumer outlook for the UAE – BMI

12 August 2015

The UAE – Australia’s second largest red meat market in the Middle East, worth $290 million in 2014-15 – has a positive outlook for consumer demand over the next five years, according to Business Monitor International (BMI). While lower oil prices will be a partial impediment to growth, the annual growth rate of per capita food consumption to 2019 is forecast at 5.9%. The diversification of the economy away from the oil sector will allow for this – GDP growth of around 4% is forecast for 2015.

Within the UAE, Dubai is expected to perform more strongly than others, like Abu Dhabi, due to its lesser dependence on the oil economy. The construction and tourism sectors are the main drivers in this area.

The increase in food consumption will require ongoing import growth, as there is limited capacity for development of the agricultural sector in the UAE – although food manufacturing is a key investment area for the government. Some of the main trends identified by BMI are a growth in health consciousness of consumers, and a growing demand for organic food. The UAE is also looking to drive standardisation of Halal certification for food over time.

BMI also offer a summary of the grocery retail sector, which is very well developed in hypermarkets, but still has around 40% through independent outlets. This could mean opportunities are available for smaller or niche producers to work through independents.

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