UAE. Confectionery manufacturers, retailers and distributors have their targets firmly set on the Middle East and North Africa as sales are expected to rise 16% by 2014, according to Euromonitor International.
Last year, retail value sales of confectionery totalled US$6.6 billion in the MENA region, a 10% growth over the previous 12 months.
With a retail sector turnover exceeding US$100 billion, the GCC is considered as one of the fastest growing retail markets worldwide, as stated by Business Monitor International (BMI).
Regional economic and demographic growth, combined with high per capita retail spending and an increased appetite for high quality international foods make the Middle East an ideal investment target for domestic and international manufacturers and retailers.
“Confectionery is still an extremely fast-growing sector in the Middle East,” said Trixee Loh, Senior Vice President, Dubai World Trade Centre, organiser of Sweets & Snacks Middle East which is held from 31 October – 2 November at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC).
“The region is well known for its sweet tooth as sharing sweets and confectionary is very much part of local custom. International investors see this industry as a very stable option and as we have seen from previous Sweets & Snacks Middle East editions, there is a great deal of business being closed both during and after the event.”
Over the last six years, the UAE confectionery market has grown by 94.7%, compared with just 19.6% in the US, 40.3% in China and 18.6% in the UK, as reported by Euromonitor International. “The UAE was outpacing many of its global counterparts because it was less saturated than mature markets,” said Ms Gayatri Bhasin, Euromonitor’s research analyst for the Middle East and Africa.
Sweets & Snacks Middle East caters for businesses which deal with high end or niche products. Confectionery sales have been steady, according to Vivek Sharma, Deputy General Manager for Sales and Marketing of Saudi-based Bateel whose products include gourmet dates, biscuits, pastries, chocolates and a wide range of sweet and savoury items.
“We realised that the Middle East is still very much an open market and have expanded from a single property in Riyadh to 36 shops and 7 cafés in 16 countries. Sweets & Snacks Middle East is a real driver for new businesses, whether they are already established, or breaking into the market. For us, it is a case of establishing new contacts and renewing old relationships.”
Offering even greater networking and selling opportunities, Sweets & Snacks Middle East will run adjacent to the inaugural Speciality Food Festival, the first trade exhibition in the Middle East to focus on premium, exclusive and elusive products - the 5 star market positioning so closely associated with Dubai. The Speciality Food Festival will showcase elite suppliers from the gourmet and luxury food market including the Halal, Organic and Seafood sectors.
Combined with Sweet & SnackTec Middle East and The International Travel Catering Association Exhibition (ITCA Dubai), these dedicated food industry events provide the ideal trading and knowledge exchange platform for visitors and exhibitors alike.
The exhibitions are for Trade and Business Professionals only and will be open from 10am - 6pm daily. General public and persons under the age of 18 will not be permitted entry.