Riyadh – Amid hard circumstances facing people these days, having a piece of chocolate or a cup of coffee became important to alleviate sorrow and refresh memory , said experts who work on spreading happiness in the International Coffee and Chocolate Exhibition in Riyadh.
Chocolate lovers rushed to the exhibition which kicked off Tuesday in the Saudi capital to learn about the developments of this growing industry in the Kingdom. According to participants, the chocolate and coffee market in Saudi Arabia has exceeded SAR4 billion with more than 160 chocolate-coffee factories. They also revealed that chocolate market grew by 20% amid growth expectation in the coffee market by 50% in 2017.
One chocolate company owner who participated in the exhibition told Asharq Al-Awsat that the consumer’s evaluation of the offered chocolate products has recently witnessed a remarkable development. He added that the Saudi consumer started to pair the Arabic coffee with chocolate instead of dates, which increased chocolate import to the Kingdom – along with the expansion of its market and the emergence of new projects in this field.
According to the company’s owner, Chocolate companies and factories in Saudi Arabia have promoted their great professional skills in this field and the local market can be an attractive investment environment – even for foreign investors.
He pointed that the Saudi consumer seeks light chocolate that’s low in sugar and oils. He also stressed the importance of producing light chocolate to ensure continuous consumption. And finally he noted that chocolate import in Saudi Arabia has reached 26,000 tons and expected the market’s capacity to surpass USD533 million.
Mohammad al-Humaidi, head of Banan Company for coffee shops’ supply in Riyadh told Asharq Al-Awsat that demand on coffee grew in the Kingdom considering that many factors had remarkably contributed in the expansion of coffee market in the Kingdom including the new trends, abroad scholarships, youth travels, and the governmental support of emerging projects.
He added that Saudi Arabia recently bagged the third place in coffee consumption worldwide, noting that the Saudi coffee market reached around SAR2 billion.
He also revealed that the Kingdom started coffee plantation with around 700 trees in Jazan, however this production only covers 1% of the local demand.
It is worth noting that the International Coffee and Chocolate Exhibition in Riyadh is considered the biggest event of its kind in the Middle East, with the participation of more than 130 national and international entities. The exhibition organized by A’Ali Marketing Company is composed of four pavilions: Businessmen and investors, visitors, workshops addressed by national and international experts, and activities.