Dubai: Over the last few decades, the UAE has become a melting pot of ethnicities, resulting in the globally attuned F&B destination that we see today and as a result.
According to Truebell, a leading GCC importer of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), an industry report by Mordor Intelligence, the UAE has witnessed strong growth in its frozen food sector, with the market expected to increase at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 9.3% during the period 2019-2024, with the most widely used products including healthy versions of ready meals, soups, fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry and seafood.
“To keep up with this growing demand, our food division has launched a wide variety of products in the frozen food category last year, including Rana premium frozen Ravioli, Al Islami processed meats and Château Gâteaux frozen cakes,” said Truebell Divisional Manager, Retail & Food Service, Bhushant J. Gandhi.
“Convenience and a growing millennial population are the key factors driving this growth in the region, with increasing disposable incomes and a rise in the number of women working also contributing,” he added.
Dubai’s 3.1 million population currently consists of just over 2.9 million expats, with 85% of these expats Asian, primarily from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, according to the latest figures from Dubai Statistics Centre’s (DSC) 2018 annual report. And in recent years, the emirate has witnessed a surge in the number of Chinese, Japanese, Malaysian and Korean expats.
“Asian cuisines – primarily Japanese, Chinese and Thai – have consistently been firm favourites among UAE nationals, residents and tourists alike. However, with a growing number of Chinese, Japanese, Malaysian and Korean expats arrive, we are keen to capitalise on this opportunity by expanding our Asian offerings – trialling new produce and flavours from these countries,” Gandhi said.
At present, Truebell has more than 200 Asian products in its portfolio including popular brands from East and South East Asia such as Magnolia, Purefoods, Sin Mui Heng Dimsums, Daesang Chonga Kimchi, Kikkoman Soy, Laco Edamame, Nissin Noodles, Dona Maria, Lemon Square and many other boutique products.
Amid the various nutritional programmes on the market today, plant-based and vegan diets as well as meat replacements are becoming particularly prominent, which is clearly a key food trend for 2020 and beyond.
Gandhi said: “Plant-based meat replacement products including seitan, tempeh and tofu are gaining traction across the region. Over the coming months, we will be looking to add brands that fit into these categories to our ever-expanding portfolio. We will soon enhance our 14-year partnership as exclusive distributor for leading bakery and patisserie La Rose Noire as we launch their latest line of vegan delicacies as well as their new, 100% biodegradable packaging in the region.”
In addition to this, society is becoming more health-conscious than ever before, and asna result, increasing number of consumers are interested in local and organic produce as well as collagen-rich and gluten-free food and drinks.
Over recent years, the UAE government has launched initiatives to make organic produce more readily available, and placed a strong focus on agriculture, with the country now more than 80% self-sufficient for milk and almost 40% self-sufficient in its
demand for eggs, according to research firm BMI.
As well as probiotic supplements and drinks, we are seeing an increasing demand for on-the-go collagen drinks, due to the multiple health benefits associated with this protein such as healthier skin, hair and nails.
Meanwhile, other trends are growing in popularity, such as the combination of vegan and gluten-free, as well as eco-friendly, sustainable food products.