The organic and natural market for mom and baby products has grown substantially, largely due to heightened consumer awareness and parents being extra careful about what they use on their children. We asked experts from the Middle East about their opinion on the market and its future.
The market for natural/organic products in the Middle East is growing very fast every day
“The market for natural/organic products in the Middle East is growing very fast every day, catching up with the global trends towards healthy living and fit lifestyles. This naturally started to trickle down to what mothers are feeding their babies and the types of choices they make when it comes to their babies’ and children’s nutrition,” started Lama Shamseddine, Founder and Managing Partner at BabyEats, a fresh and organic meal plan service for mums in the UAE. “At BabyEats, our consumers are fully aware of pesticide-free options in the market, yet prefer to go with us since every single meal is cooked with fresh ingredients with no added preservatives, whether organic or non-organic.”
Meanwhile, Samer Al-Nimr, Ceo and Founder of Deliver2Mum, one of the biggest online shopping destinations for mom and baby in the region, commented, “While we only operate in the UAE, we have noticed that moms prefer natural and organic products for their babies as it is better for them and the cost difference is not so substantial overall.”
From a supplier’s perspective, Shauravi Malik, co-founder of Slurrp Farm, providing organic and healthy food for kids and babies, stated,
“The Middle East as a market has a strong demand for organic mom and child products. There are pockets of high urban density within a small geographic spread; this makes it a really good market for food products that understand health-focused consumers well. These factors also correspond with people who are young parents and families.”
The e-groceries market is currently worth $200 million in the GCC and Egypt
On the topic of a shift of consumer behaviour post-covid, Shamseddine shared, “We did see a notable build-up of organic meals at BabyEats in terms of volume moving from 0% (organic) 6 months ago to an average of 40% in the last 3 months. The specific demand is on fruits and vegetables, although meats are also a concern for moms seeking to give their children hormone/pesticide-free food.”
“We have noticed a strong demand for ready to cook and DIY food products with good ingredients”, Malik said. “More families are purchasing groceries online, and they are also focussed on the quality of food ingredients. Eating healthy is back in trend, especially immunity-boosting foods.”
Mo Fadlallah, Founder of the parenting website Baby-arabia.com, said, “There has been a huge shift and increase of ‘home delivery’ services due to COVID-19, especially in online grocery shopping. This will continue to grow well into 2021 and beyond as more families adjust to shopping online for their food and groceries as well as ‘take-away delivery’. The e-groceries market is currently worth $200 million in the GCC and Egypt, which according to reports accounts for less than 1 per cent of the eCommerce space, so we expect increased and fast growth in this sector.”
The market is sizable with almost 120k newborns every year in the UAE alone
We asked these experts for any advice they might have for international suppliers who want to enter the market.
“The market is sizable with almost 120k newborns every year in the UAE alone, yet the main driver for growth is the awareness among consumers in the region (both locals and expatriates) and their desire to follow global trends on health and nutrition,” Shamseddine commented.
Al-Nimr added, “To do well here, brands need to have marketing spend on educating the consumers about their specific brands to various ethnic groups in the Middle East, and have a distinct competitive advantage compared to similar brands.”
Fadlallah advised, “They should first create education and awareness campaigns to their products and do ‘pilot testing’ with feedback to assess the demand and likely interest before committing to come here. No doubt the MENA region offers huge potential for growth and scalability but education is lacking, especially in the Arabic language and to a predominantly Arab speaking population.”
The organic natural products already in the market will continue to grow and generate additional sales
When asked about the future of the organic and natural products sector, Shamseddine replied, “The upgrade to organic will happen faster if suppliers strike the right balance between the quality and the price (value) they are offering. Brands such as BabyEats, offer sustainable quality to consumers at affordable prices.”
“The organic natural products already in the market will continue to grow and generate additional sales as long as their supply routes are not disrupted due to COVID-19,” Al-Nimr said.
Fadlallah ended on a positive note, “The pricing point will always be key and critical to the consumer and therefore if brands can consider this while being price-conscious and competitive, then a targeted education and awareness campaign can reap tremendous opportunities in the sector.”
Additionally, Malik shared, “We feel that people are concerned about health, wellness and natural products more than ever before. Along with organic, “Better for you” and clean label eating are equally important trends.”