Demand for packaged food in Middle East expected to grow by 21 per cent by 2026 led by Saudi, Iraq and UAE
The Middle East is witnessing a significant growth in the packaged food industry, with the market accounting for five per cent of the global consumption of packaged foods. Saudi Arabia has a share of just under 30 per cent, followed by Iraq and the United Arab Emirates.
This rising demand is expected to further increase by 21 per cent to reach 44 million tons by 2026. Reports indicate that consumption in these regions is anticipated to rise, with Iraq's consumption rising by 28 per cent, Saudi Arabia's by 22 per cent, and the UAE’s by 19 per cent.
According to market figures, the region has become a growing market for the industry, further driving them to adopt new packaging and processing technologies and expand current production levels.
According to the VDMA Food Processing and Packaging Association, the regional market also witnessed an increase in imports of food processing and packaging machinery in 2021 by over eight per cent. Italy, Germany, and China have ranked as the top three supplying countries for this machinery, with Italian production accounting for 28 per cent, Germany for almost 20 per cent, and China for 12 per cent of the machinery and equipment.
Furthermore, with sales expected to increase by another 20 per cent to reach 18 million tons between 2021 and 2026, ‘Baked Goods’ has been named the sector's largest product category in the market. This is followed by ‘Dairy Products,’ which is the second largest product category, with sales expected to increase by 19 per cent in 2026, in addition to rice, pasta, and noodles products with expected increase in sales of 25 per cent in 2026. Similarly, the confectionery segment is also anticipated to grow at a rate of 14 per cent to 0.5 million tons in 2026.
The event will also enable businesses to focus on building a circular economy, enhancing resource management, adopting digital technologies, and improving product safety. Additionally, this is in line with the sharp increase in global demand for machinery and equipment for the production, processing, and packaging of food, beverages, and pharmaceutical, and cosmetic products.