French produce imports to the UAE rose to over $450 million in 2018, according to French government statistics.
“As tastes evolve and become more sophisticated, so does the demand for quality products and ingredients,” said Edwina Salvatori, the managing director at Sopexa, an international food communication and marketing agency. “This is particularly true in the UAE, where we have witnessed a 50 percent increase in demand for French F&B since 2010.”
Salvatori added that the rise in demand for French produce is largely due “to the number of new luxury hotels and top independent restaurants opening, running in parallel with increased retail demand.”
“Indeed, we strongly believe that there is great opportunity for French produce right across the Middle East,” she added.
Globally, France exported over $65 million worth of food, making it the sixth largest exporter of produce in the world.
Of the total, the Middle East represented $2.2 billion, the bulk of which went to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, followed by Egypt and Lebanon.
The most popular products include beverages (30 percent), dairy (16 percent) and fruits (9 percent).
Recently, Carrefour held a “Bon Appetit” week, which included a workshop led by the executive chef of Alserkal Aveneu’s Inked, Hadrien Villedieu, offering a special Christmas menu using only French produce.
“The French culinary scene has been blessed with some of the world’s greatest chefs,” Salvatori said. “The respect for our culture, our ingredients, our tradition and of course our techniques has helped to ensure that the demand not only in the Middle East but globally, continues to blossom.”For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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