Food and beverage trade in the UAE increased steadily to reach over $20 billion in the first nine months of 2021, supported by growing demand and expanded efforts to enhance food security and diversify food imports, new analysis from Dubai Chamber of Commerce shows.
Imports accounted for the largest share of the UAE’s F&B trade during January-September 2021 period, or $12.8 billion, followed by exports ($4.1 billion) and re-exports ($3.3 billion). Moreover, from 2011 to 2020, the UAE’s F&B imports, exports and re-exports grew at a CAGR of 0.6%, 7.5% and 6.0%, respectively.
The findings, based on data from the Federal Competitiveness and Statistical Center (FCSC) of the UAE, were released during a briefing hosted by Dubai Chamber of Commerce on the sidelines of Gulfood 2022 in Dubai. The event was attended by Saleh Abdullah Lootah, Chairman of the UAE Food and Beverage Manufacturers Group, and 200 participants from 48 countries.
The analysis identified India as the UAE’s top F&B trading partner in the first nine months of 2021, as the country accounted for 12% of the Gulf country’s total F&B trade value, followed by the US (7%) Brazil (6%) Australia (5%), Canada (5%) and Saudi Arabia (5%). Imported fruits and nuts accounted for the largest proportion of the UAE’s imports of food and beverages (13%), followed by meat (11%) dairy products (10%) and oilseeds (7%).
Addressing participants during the briefing, Hassan Al Hashemi, Vice President of International Relations, Dubai Chamber of Commerce said the growing momentum behind the UAE’s F&B trade reflect the country’s successful efforts and initiatives implemented to diversify import and export markets.
The steady growth of UAE’s F&B exports indicates that the country’s food manufacturing sector is maturing, developing and supporting the national food security agenda, he explained, adding that Dubai, in particular, is leading the way in leveraging technology to advance its F&B sector and address new challenges and market needs.
Al Hashemi concluded by stressing Dubai Chamber of Commerce’s full commitment to supporting companies operating in the food and beverage sector in accessing global growth opportunities and strengthening Dubai's position as a preferred re-export hub for food products.
The data reflects the efforts and effective initiatives launched by the UAE to attract investment in the food and beverage industry, advance food-related sectors locally and internationally, and expand efforts to boost food security.
Ten markets accounted for about 66% of the UAE’s total exports of food and beverages during the first nine months of 2021, with Saudi Arabia ranking first in this category with a share of 17%, followed by Oman (9%), Kuwait (8%) and China (5%).
According to FCSC, in 2021 (Q1-Q3) the top 10 product groups accounted for around 76% of UAE’s F&B imports from the world. Fruits and nuts took the largest share of 13%, followed by meat (11%), dairy (10%), oil seeds (7%), cereals (7%) and other edible food products (6%).