The Organic and Natural sector is skyrocketing in the Middle East as people are shifting towards a healthier lifestyle and are looking for alternatives for sustainable and ethical consumption. Investing in organic now means that future health bills will reduce, increasing the demand for these products.
Research says that hybrid events in the Middle East have spearheaded imports & export trade in the region for organic and natural products specifically. The expo recently organised the first edition of the tri-series digital expo for 2021, we caught up with experts from different industries to glean their opinion during the 2-day virtual event where buyers and suppliers were a part of instant trading in real-time.
The growth of organic food in the region is 39% in 2020, compared to 11% growth for retail value globally
“The Organic and Natural F&B Market is still poised to grow for the next 6 months to five years. Driven by the main factors of health, food safety and environmental concerns. The growth of organic food in the region is 39% in 2020, compared to 11% growth for retail value globally,” shared Monique Naval, Senior Analyst, Euromonitor International, the world’s leading independent provider of strategic market research, starting on a positive note.
Giving us more insights on the F&B sector, we spoke to Kirthi Meghnani, Head – Retail Procurement, Choithrams Group, a 75-year-old corporation spread across more than 25 countries with 65 stores in the world.
“I do feel that the growth will be more than 16% annually until 2025 for organic and natural products. In terms of the experience of Choithrams, organic and natural is not new and we have been doing it for the last 10 years, however, it has increased during the pandemic. The buzz words were health and, immunity. Sales increased that period and it has sustained the growth we had,” said Meghnani.
Meanwhile, Omer Chauhan, Assistant General Manager, Gulf Fruits Trading Company, specialized 5- and 4-Star Hotel supplier of Fruits and Vegetables, opined, “We will see a lot more options in the future. It’s not only one solution that fits all, and there will be a lot of local and international options coming in, which were not introduced to the market. With UAE being the regional hub of everything in the GCC, we will see a lot more economically viable options for the communities to choose from. Some trending ingredients include moringa, local fresh produce, sugar-free, superfoods and more.”
The per capita spend on beauty is more than 240$ in the region, a lot more than the global average
Coming to the beauty sector, our experts were optimistic.
“There is an emphasis on conscious consumerism and cleaner living. The consumer of today is prioritizing wellness and detoxification in diets and products while looking at safe ingredients and brand transparency. We are already seeing an acceleration, as the per capita spends on beauty is more than 240$ in the region, a lot more than the global average. A beauty consumer has an average of 8-12 products across their AM to PM routine,” said Anisha Oberoi, Founder & CEO, Secret Skin, a tech enterprise based in the UAE for Sustainable Beauty, “Trending ingredients include fruit puree, detoxifying clay, marine actives, herbal extracts, vegetable extracts, amla, lavender, apricot seeds and more.”
“In March 2020, when the pandemic hit the region, a new norm started to be established. From the short, to medium and long-run, the shift was towards natural and organic beauty products. Commercially we saw that large companies took note and increased their presence in natural product categories that are not only chemical-free but also cruelty-free and vegan,” informed Amna Abbas, Consultant – Beauty & Fashion, Euromonitor International.
Mette Haxthausen, Managing Director, Sisters Beauty Lounge, UAE’s most popular multi-functional beauty lounge with 7 branches in the country, shared some interesting points.
“The market in the UAE is always progressive, and consumers at Sister’s Beauty Lounge are getting curious about natural beauty. They ask if products are vegan and cruelty-free, and this is now an expectation. In terms of a digital landscape, recently we have launched an eCommerce platform and app, with a large range of natural choices straight to your door.”
Consumers are more interested in supplements that claim to boost natural immunity and targets virus symptoms
Healthcare isn’t far behind! the sector is moving towards a more natural approach.
“I would advocate dirty dozen and clean fifteen for the next 6 months and these will be on the rise in terms of demand. The pandemic has brought a passport to the online world, helping us discover the full potential of what we can do, and healthcare is no exception,” opined Dr Hanan Selim, Senior Analyst, Healology Wellness and an award-winning professional speaker.
“Consumers are more interested in supplements that claim to boost natural immunity and targets virus symptoms. Natural ingredients such as honey, turmeric, beetroot, and more, are will rise in the next 6 months,” said Sushma Ghag, Dietetics (Specialist), Aster Hospital. Aster Pharmacy is one of the largest healthcare brands in the Middle East.
The plant-based side of things will continue to grow across all segments. Local and global sourcing will grow, with more players coming
The vegan, plant-based and free-from sector has also witnessed massive growth.
“Everything is growing. What I realise is that people’s interest in herbs has increased, as well as the demand for kimchi. Also, people want new things that are ethically sourced and organically produced. Sugar-free, gluten-free, no lab-produced food, and fully plant-based are other big things,” commented Eda Gungor, Founder, Seva Experience, the first fully plant-based Cafe in Dubai since 2014.
Furthermore, Victoria Boldison, CEO & Founder, BolstGlobal, an international business consultancy and export solutions provider, said, “The plant-based side of things will continue to grow across all segments. Local and global sourcing will grow, with more players coming. It is important to start something that has an impact. Furthermore, online growth will continue.”