The UAE frozen food market was valued at USD 790.74 million in 2020, and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 4.87% during the forecast period (2021-2026).
- Due to its arid climate and nominal rainfall, the United Arab Emirates is inhospitable to most forms of agriculture, and thus, the country relies heavily on food imports. The growing need for convenience, supported by factors like busy lifestyles, changing consumer preferences, and the growing demand for ready-to-eat food products, is the major factor driving the growth of the market studied. - The country has witnessed a growing demand for seafood, owing to the high number of expatriates and foreign workers, which is a significant factor that is contributing to the growth of the demand for imported fishery products. Halal seafood products also hold huge potential in the market. - The frozen food market has been performing well, following the onset of COVID-19. The fact that frozen food products can retain the nutritional value for a long periodand, in turn, help bring down the number of times consumers have to visit a shop or outlet also works in favor of the market. Although the impact of COVID-19 on the cold chain supply has been significant, the evolving buying patterns of consumers, with more inclination toward health, have helped the frozen food market develop faster than expected.
Key Market Trends Increasing Demand For Convenience Food Products
The consumers’ demand for a year-round supply of seasonal produce and ready-made meals remains the driving force behind innovation and sales in frozen food technologies. Frozen ready meals are alluring people with hectic lifestyles and consumers who do not want to invest much time in preparing full meals. Additionally, the increasing number of modern retail formats in the country and the availability of a greater variety of frozen ready-to-eat meals have attracted time-conscious consumers who are seeking convenient food products, thereby leading to a noticeable increase in the demand. Furthermore, the growing influence of western food habits among the consumers in the country has increased the demand for packaged food products. This is further supported by high urbanization, the presence of a high percentage of expatriates, tourism, as well as young consumers, driving the demand for ready-to-eat, canned, processed, preserved, and frozen foods.
Frozen Ready Meals is the Fastest Growing Segment
The frozen ready meals represent a convenient alternative to cooking and are thus, increasingly preferred by working-population, with the total labor force in the United Arab Emirates at 7.384 million in 2018 (as per the UAE Government) and also by the increasing expat population in the country. Owing to this factor, precooked and frozen meals, like meatballs, veg meals, and other frozen ready-to-eat products, which are halal certified, have been experiencing high demand from the consumers of the market studied, thus, increasing the overall market for frozen food in the country further. One of the companies, such as Ta’moosh, has been offering an extensive and high-quality range of frozen gourmet ready-to-eat Halal dishes that cater to the United Arab Emirates’ diverse consumers and their busy lifestyle needs. Also, their products are exclusively available in the frozen foods section across the leading supermarkets in the United Arab Emirates.
Competitive Landscape The UAE frozen food market is highly fragmented, with several players engaged in selling frozen and shelf-stable food products via several distribution channels present across the country. Thus, in order to achieve a competitive advantage and sustain it for a longer period, market players are adopting strategies, such as expansions, product innovations, partnerships, and mergers and acquisitions. Some of the key players in the market are General Mills Inc., SIDCO FOODS TRADING COMPANY, IFFCO, and Al Kabeer Group. These players will be embarking on innovations and market expansions for increasing their range of products.
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