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The World Health Organisation states that obesity in the UAE is double that of the world average. This unfortunate statistic has led to a greater understanding of what it means to eat healthily and the UAE is witnessing a ‘healthy eating’ trend.
Superfoods such as quinoa, buckwheat, chia seeds, flax seeds, and spirulina, are gaining popularity. Snacks that incorporate these products are helping to increase the amount of space dedicated to the Organic sections of many supermarkets (a 60% increase in four years, according to Mintel), and are influencing restaurant menus. The UAE consumer is becoming more aware of how foods are affecting their lifestyles.
The rise in health related issues (studies put the UAE’s diabetes rate at between 17-20% of the population), has also raised the demand for healthy food options including gluten free, free-from, paleo, organic, and free-range food products. These attributes are being highlighted on products in supermarkets to emphasise their benefits.
At a policy level, the 50% ‘sin tax’ on carbonated soft drinks and 100% tax on energy drinks is helping the UAE make a healthier choice. During the last few years we’ve seen an increase in demand for healthier juices and juice bars, which historically offered traditional fruit-based cocktails, are now including parsley, celery, ginger, kale, and more, in their recipes.
The Organic Trade Association data also shows total sales of organic food in the UAE to be estimated at £31.5 million in 2018: health and wellness products had a CAGR of 6.6% while organic and packaged goods grew by 9.8% between 2015-2018.
Demand for these products is increasing as UAE residents embrace a healthier lifestyle. If your company produces organic or free-from foods and has the capacity to expand overseas, the UAE has a growing organic foods market for you to enter. Please email me if you have any questions.