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UAE: organic shelf space expands by 60%
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In the UAE, the shelf space for organic food has grown 60% during the last four years. (Photo: Pexels)
In the Middle East, the interest in organic food is growing. According to new research from Mintel, the shelf space given over to organic food in the United Arabic Emirates has grown by 60% in the last four years. Particularly in Saudi Arabia, Quatar and Kuwait, this trend can also be observed. However, when it comes to innovations in certified organic food and drinks, Isreal and Egypt are the leading countries in the Middle East.
Rejection of produce with pesticide residues
One reason for the increasing organic market in the UAE is the country’s strict regulations on imported fresh produce. In May 2017, the UAE’s ministry of Climate Change has started banning imports of particular fruits and vegetables from countries like Oman, Lebanon, Yemen and Egypt, as parts of these countries’ produce contained pesticide residues exceeding permissible limits. The ban is said to continue until certain safety requirements are fulfilled.
Growth opportunities by promoting the organic claim
Even though, organic food is an expanding sector in the UAE, only 2% of food and drink launches were stationed as being organic from the beginning to October 2017 in accordance with Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD). Instead of promoting the organic claim, most operators launch their products with wider natural and free-from slogans such as ‘no additives and preservatives’. As a result, by using organic claims (like milk producer Arla), producers now have the chance to contrast favorably from other operators.
Besides producers, by increasing the shelf space for organic products, also retailers play an important role in raising more awareness of organic and drink. According to Mintel, this action will motivate producers to create new organic product lines and enhance the import of organic labels from other countries with more organic experience.