Saudi food industry ripe for global investments

Saudi food industry ripe for global investments
Updated 16 September 2013

Saudi food industry ripe for global investments

Saudi food industry ripe for global investments

With a growing population, increased consumer spending and significant public sector investment in new malls, restaurants and hotels, Saudi Arabia’s rapidly expanding F&B industry is a gold mine waiting to be tapped.
Global and local companies wanting to access the region’s largest F&B market can do so at the country’s first international exhibition dedicated to the industry, Foodex Saudi, taking place at the Jeddah Center for Forums and Events from December 8-11.
The Saudi Arabian food industry is currently experiencing a boom.
Food sales in the Kingdom account for around half of the domestic retail market and are expected to be worth almost $70 billion by 2016, with food consumption expanding at a compound annual growth rate of 2.6 percent from 2012 to 2017.
Despite being the largest food and beverage market in the GCC, the Kingdom relies heavily on imports to meet its growing consumption requirements.
Foodex Saudi aims to connect local and international brands to this ripe market opportunity while showcasing Saudi Arabia’s potential as a regional F&B hub.
Organized by Reed Sunaidi Exhibitions, a joint venture between the world’s largest event organizer Reed Exhibitions and Sunaidi Expo, a division of Alfadl Group, the show is expected to attract more than 20,000 visitors and buyers from across the industry including fast food outlets, restaurants, hotels, wholesalers, grocery stores, hypermarkets and HNWIs.
Simon Blazeby, group exhibitiondirector, Reed Sunaidi Exhibitions, said: “Foodex Saudi is the only exhibition dedicated to the food and beverage industry in the Kingdom. Our objective is to encourage new import relationships, as well as support the continued development of the Saudi food distribution, retail and service sectors.”
As the most populous Gulf country, Saudi Arabia is the region’s biggest food consumer and, according to Alpen Capital, will account for 60 percent of total consumption by 2017.
While Saudi Arabia is also the region’s largest food producer, representing 74.1 percent of total production in the GCC, it imports more than $14.2 billion worth of food and beverage products each year to meet its consumption demands.
According to BMI’s recent Q1 2013 report this will rise to $35.2 billion by 2020.
Saudi Arabia’s fast food market alone is expected to reach a value of $4.5 billion in the next three years driven by the strong demand from its young and wealthy population.
Analysts also predict the country’s changing dietary pattern from carbohydrate-rich to protein-rich and high-value food products will create new opportunities for food companies in the Kingdom.
In order to address the growing food demands from consumers, the Saudi Arabian government plans to inject $22.1 billion into its food security initiative which aims to reduce the country’s dependence on food imports as well as provide employment for up to 46,000 people.
“Saudi Arabia’s food and drink industry is at an inflection point,” continued Blazeby.
“A young and growing population coupled by a thriving domestic economy is changing food consumption habits, creating significant opportunities for importers and exporters. Foodex Saudi will provide an important trade platform where international and Saudi-based food and beverage companies can develop new and existing business relationships.”
Foodex Saudi’s exclusive Hosted Buyers program will attract VIP visitors from Jeddah, Riyadh, Damman, Joba and the Economic Free Zones and selected attendees from other MENA countries will also be hosted as part of the program.
Added to this will be a selection of international delegates for the Saudi Food Forum, creating a global mix of visitors.
Visitors to Foodex Saudi can expect to see everything from Saudi Arabia’s leading brands, to new global foods in the International Pavilion Area, and a showcase of global food brands by sector at “Specialist World”.
The show features exhibitors from 27 countries including pavilions from Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Spain, South Africa, Taiwan, Turkey and United Kingdom.
Sponsors currently include Luna, The Italian Halal Agency, and Sanha the South African Halal Association. Exhibitors range from the biggest Saudi household names such as Abu Bint, Aloha Tuna, Blue Ribbon, Indomi, Luna, Maggi, Perfetto, Toya and Saudia to smaller, more specialist brands like Beyti, Colavita and Zott. The exhibition also offers interactive cooking demonstrations, seminars and appearances from celebrity chefs.
Foodex is open to business and trade visitors from within the industry only.