Food sales in Saudi Arabia are expected to be worth almost $70 billion by 2016, with food consumption growing at a CAGR of 2.6 per cent from 2012 to 2017.
Saudi Arabia is the region’s biggest food consumer and, according to Alpen Capital, will account for 60 per cent of total consumption by 2017.
While Saudi Arabia is also the region’s largest food producer, representing 74.1 per cent of total production in the GCC, it imports more than $14.2 billion worth of food and beverage products each year to meet its consumption demands. According to BMI’s recent Q1 2013 report this will rise to $35.2 billion by 2020.
Saudi Arabia’s fast food market alone is expected to reach a value of $4.5 billion in the next three years driven by the strong demand from its young and wealthy population. Analysts also predict the country’s changing dietary pattern from carbohydrate-rich to protein-rich and high-value food products will create new opportunities for food companies in the Kingdom.
In order to address the growing food demands from consumers, the Saudi Arabian government plans to inject $22.1 billion into its food security initiative which aims to reduce the country’s dependence on food imports as well as provide employment for up to 46,000 people.
A young and growing population coupled by a thriving domestic economy is changing food consumption habits, creating significant opportunities for importers and exporters.