-B Swaminathan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The UAE Prepared Meals Market has witnessed substantial growth due to factors like urbanization, busy lifestyles, and an increasing preference for convenient and ready-to-eat food options. Prepared meals encompass a wide range of products, including frozen meals, ready-to-cook kits, and pre-packaged dishes that require minimal effort for preparation.
As per media reports, The UAE food industry is seeking support from the Indian government to meet the high demand for chicken, dairy, basmati rice, frozen marine goods, and wheat products in the Middle East. They have requested smooth certification processes, better coordination with APEDA, and harmonization of standards. The industry also emphasizes the importance of high-quality packaging to boost exports to countries like Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.
“Increase in the Shipping costs, delay in containers, delay in getting space will impact the price hike. India is not exporting wheat and floor because of the war zone. India is facing acute shortage of many aspects. Instead of using UAE as a place for middleman for importing and exporting to other nations.”, says Jayant Bhatia, from Khimji Ramdas.
Wheat, Maida are not happening. Rice export ban also has happened. Pakistan, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam would be in advantage as they have excess of rice. In my prediction, the cost of the food products are likely to be high. “The coming year would not be a cake walk in the next year. 2023 was good as there were investments had happened in large numbers in real-estate. Such initiatives had direct and indirect effect on travel, other sector as well.”, Jayant added further.
Vegan food will take the front seat:
According to Kunal Agravat, Nine Square General Trading, consumption of plant-based and vegan food is likely to be on high. “ The last one year, I am noticing is the demand for vegan food. Even though the reason behind this sudden surge is undiscovered, what is evident is, the trend is likely to increase in the coming years as well. We notice consumers are becoming more health conscious and are giving importance for tasty as well as healthy in the same phase”, he said. He also added that major international food chains had started giving the vegan option in their menu. “One more aspect I notice is the fusion food. As there are many different foods are likely to rub shoulders, the food as such overall will have a different impact among the eaters”, he said stating the examples of Indo-Chinese foods a living example for successful combination and he predicts that Arabic and European foods as a fusion are likely to be the next big successful aspect.
On the other hand there are also distributors who say there will not be any big impact in terms of food consumption. “ I do not find a drastic change in the food consumption habit. The major trends that existed in 2023 will continue to be followed in the year 2024 as well. At times, we see the concepts like vegan and no-sugar food are in raise. Simultaneously, the items in the healthy foods category which were priced hefty are now becoming affordable. “, says, Rakesh Jha, from Al Maya. It will be a farfetched vision, to find any drastic changes between 2023 and 2024.
Concluding the same, Deepak Thawani, Director, Bunty Food Stuff/ Divya Pulses, UAE’s agritech sector has shown remarkable growth in recent years. Investments from venture capital firms in AgriTech startups in UAE were expected to exceed $ 500M by 2023. Fostering partnerships with UAE-based agritech startups like RightFarm, Madar Farms etc can also open new avenues for Indian startups to access advanced technologies and investment opportunities.
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