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Online F&B sales in UAE surge 255% in 2020: analysis

22 Feb, 2021

Online sales within the UAE’s food and beverage market surged 255% year-over-year in 2020 to reach $412 million, new analysis by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry has revealed.


The analysis predicted the value of online food and beverage sales in the country to reach $619 million by 2025 and record a compound annual growth (CAGR) of 8.5% over the 2020-2025 period.


The figures, based on data from Euromonitor, were released by the Chamber during the Gulfood Breakfast Briefing event, which was  organised on the sidelines of the Gulfood 2021 exhibition in Dubai.


The briefing was attended by 270 participants from 43 countries and familiarised visiting delegates with Dubai’s economy, business landscape and industry trends, as well as new market opportunities on the horizon.


In his welcome address, Hassan Al Hashemi, Vice President of International Relations at Dubai Chamber, described Dubai as a leading example of a city that has leveraged technology and global partnerships to enhance food security to navigate challenges during Covid-19.


Al-Hashemi identified the Covid-led digital transformation as a key factor driving the exponential growth in F&B e-commerce sales last year, adding that Dubai’s advanced technology infrastructure, world-class logistics facilities, high-Internet penetration rate and high disposable income among consumers are also key elements that supported the upward trend.


The remarkable progress achieved by the UAE’s Covid-19 vaccination campaign, increased national efforts to enhance food security, Expo 2020 Dubai and newly introduced incentives to attract foreign investment to the country will also play a major role in sustaining the local F&B industry’s growth in the near future, he explained.


In addition, Al Hashemi stressed Dubai Chamber’s strong commitment to identifying attractive trade opportunities in the F&B market and facilitating global partnerships that boost and diversify’ s the UAE’s food trade with other countries around the world.


An informative presentation, titled Trade Opportunities in UAE Food and Beverage Market in Post-COVID, and delivered by Dr. Nizami Imamverdiyev, Economic Researcher - Economic Research & Business Development Dubai Chamber, revealed that the UAE recorded 6% growth in sales of fresh food products in the UAE in 2020, which reached $7.9 billion and recorded 4% growth in sales of canned food products during the same year.


The presentation identified several high-potential food product categories where the UAE can expand trade with other markets, including grains, vegetables and fruits, vertical crops, healthy and halal food products. 


Referring to the Dubai market specifically, the presentation identified India as the emirate’s top food trade partner in 2020, with food products imported from the Asian country accounting for 19% of all food imports, followed by New Zealand (13%), Pakistan (9%), the USA, Egypt and Canada (4%).


Legumes accounted for about 17% of the total food products imported by Dubai during 2020, followed by powdered milk (14%), rice (13%), sugar (9%), onions (7%) and potatoes (5%). The presentation also noted that sugar was a top product re-exported from Dubai to foreign markets in 2020, followed by legumes and dates.


The event also featured a presentation from Mohammed Bin Sulaiman Senior Manager - Business Relations Dubai Chamber, which provided participants with an overview of Dubai’s economy, as well as market prospects and outlook.


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