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Middle East: food and drink export opportunities

Market opportunity: Value-added or speciality food ingredients and packaging

Key details

Opportunity: Value-added or speciality food ingredients and packaging

Country: Middle East

Sector: Food and drink


Value-added food ingredients are used to enhance taste and flavour in processed food. They also help improve the shelf-life, stability and texture of food products.
The Middle East market for value-added and speciality food ingredients was estimated at $4.6 billion USD in 2018.

It is mainly driven by the rising demand for processed food products such as ready meals, baked foods, breakfast cereals, confectionery, and non-alcoholic beverages. The demand for convenience foods has recorded robust growth, owing to changing lifestyles and dietary preferences.

Although the Middle East has a very small food manufacturing sector, the Covid-19 pandemic has turned food security into a matter of urgency in the region.

Governments across the Middle East are looking to increase their agricultural and food manufacturing capabilities. This will further increase the demand for value-added food ingredients, as well as smart, eco-friendly packaging such as biodegradable and compostable packaging for products manufactured locally.

Several major projects, such as Expo 2020, are centred around sustainability, and these developing trends in the Middle East would suggest future demand for eco-friendly food service and catering packaging.

Scale of opportunity

The Middle East value-added and speciality food ingredients market and packaging market together is estimated to reach $5.99 billion USD by 2023 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.44% between 2018 and 2023.

Increases in diabetes and obesity in the Middle East has made consumers shift their focus to healthier lifestyles, thus increasing growth around healthy value-added food ingredients.

Over the years, Scottish companies who had the capability to supply and take advantage of this opportunity saw their combined sales increase to more than £10 million.

Eligible companies

This opportunity is open to Scottish companies who can supply value-added and speciality food ingredients, and sustainable and eco-friendly packaging, to food processing and manufacturing industries and the food service sector.

Ideally, these companies will be able to provide an extensive range of value-add ingredients and thus become a one-stop solution for buyers.

Suppliers of functional food ingredients could also benefit from this opportunity, as demand is growing for ingredients which enhance food ingredients’ basic nutritional value.

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Register your interest

Register your interest

Get in touch with our in-market specialists to find out more about this export opportunity.