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Food & Health

KSA with sweet tooth largest chocolate consumer in ME

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is the largest chocolate market in the Middle East in terms of consumption with a share of 52 percent compared to the remaining Arab countries. Its annual growth rate is 14 percent, dealers said.
The competition has intensified these days because of the chocolate stalls in supermarkets and souks.
Ramadan and Eid are considered the golden season for chocolate investors in the Kingdom,” they pointed out.
Patchi Chocolate Saudi Arabia CEO Iyhab Yemek said that the growth rate of chocolate sector in the Kingdom is more than 14 percent.
He named the cities that consume the most chocolates as Jeddah, Riyadh, Makkah and Madinah.
He blamed the high prices on increasing costs of production including raw material and labor wages, in addition to rising property prices.
He also referred to many types of materials used in the production such as dates, coffee beans, figs, nuts, biscuits and caramel.
Another dealer, Salwa Radwan, Chocolate Corner head, said a large number of chocolate shops and investors are competing for market share.
“The demand for chocolate increases 40 percent in Ramadan compared with the other months,” she added.
The influx of foreign investments including popular international brands in the chocolate sector and the overall economic development in the country have made the competition very intense, she explained.
“Here, one could find Swiss, German, Belgium, Finnish, Russian and British chocolates. Many Saudi consumers prefer the high-quality plain black chocolate. Many investors import the plain chocolate and then add the stuffing locally,” said Radwan.

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