Organic food gaining popularity among health conscious

Organic food gaining popularity among health conscious
Updated 04 November 2014

Organic food gaining popularity among health conscious

Organic food gaining popularity among health conscious

With obesity and diabetes levels rising in the Kingdom, many consumers are now taking up a bigger slice of the health food market in the country.
Doctors in the city are recommending that people eat organically produced vegetables and fruits because they are more nutritious and can aid in the prevention of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, strokes and cancers. It also assists in helping people maintain a healthy weight.
Mahmouda Yahiya, a dietician and blogger on healthy living, said recently: “Several retailers and vendors are using chemicals these days to make vegetables and fruits look fresh. The rampant use of such chemicals destroys their nutritional benefits. That’s why we are advising patients suffering from health issues to consume foods that are grown naturally.”
She said that since demand has risen, many supermarkets have special sections only for organic products, making it easily available for consumers.
According to the Middle East market consultancy firm Orient Planet, the organic food market in the Kingdom was estimated at over SR1 billion in 2009 accounting for 90 percent of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s organic food market. A similar report issued in the same year by Frost and Sullivan projected Saudi Arabia’s health food market would grow by 11.8 percent a year.
Mohammad Othman, a retail executive manager, said: “Saudi Arabia is considered among one of the largest organic food markets in the Gulf due to the growing demand from people for the health benefits they offer. The major part of the health food market in Saudi Arabia is imported from western countries because there is a lack of consistent local suppliers. This forces retail companies to charge relatively high prices.”
“However, the healthy food market is flourishing and is expected to increase in the coming years,” he said.
Yazeed Khalid, a Syrian national living in Jeddah, said: “I prefer to use organic products to avoid health hazards.
Although they are much more expensive, there is little chance of contamination and the end product is of good quality. Many people did not know about organic food, but now there is growing awareness as the desire to stay healthy has increased.”