A growing population, increasing tourist numbers and rising incomes will all contribute to pushing UAE food consumption to 59.2 million tonnes annually by 2025, according to a new report.
The UAE Food Industry Report 2017 said the UAE is on course to meet both consumer demands and UAE Government mandates for a more sustainable, zero-waste future.
Saleh Abdullah Lootah, chairman, Food and Beverage Manufacturers Group, said the country’s food industry is evolving and growing in response to social behaviour and changing food habits.
“Food is the second biggest sector in the UAE. The total food sales figure in the UAE for 2016 was AED121 billion ($329 billion) and will only continue to grow,” said Lootah, who is also the chairman, Food & Beverage Manufacturers Business Group - Dubai Chamber of Commerce and managing director, Al Islami Foods.
“Food consumption is forecast to rise from 48.1 tonnes last year to 59.2 million by 2021, due to a rising consumer base and growth in income,” he added.
The report said that with the UAE’s population estimated to hit 10 million by 2025 and tourism numbers poised to reach 20 million by 2020, food manufacturing industry players face a range of challenges.
“More people are health conscious, the recent Dubai Fitness Challenge is an example of that. More people are starting to ask where their food is coming from, how it was made and what’s in it, before they consume. That is a good thing, but it also presents a challenge and all of us in the supply chain must come together. We as a food group are doing our best to promote the benefits of a healthy lifestyle,” he said.
Lootah outlined other challenges such as the impending implementation of VAT and rising costs.
Dubai is currently home to more than 16,000 food outlets and restaurants, including 2,074 new restaurants that opened between the middle of 2015 and the end of 2016, according to latest figures from Dubai Municipality.
The report was launched at Gulfood Manufacturing 2007 which was held earlier this week in Dubai.
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