Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

GCC Food Services Market to Reach USD28 billion by 2020 | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A customer checks dates displayed on a truck during the annual dates festival in Berida in the Saudi central province of Qassim August 24, 2013. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

Dammam – Al Masah Capital Limited has prepared an economic report that expects an annual growth of 6.8% in the food services market in GCC countries, up to USD28 billion by 2020.

UAE has been ranked among the greatest 20 countries in the food service markets around the world in 2015 – it achieved a growth of 56.3% between 2010 and 2015. Fast food or Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) remained the largest segment, accounting for 58.2 of the GCC food services market in 2015.

Fast food segment is the largest in the market accounting for a total of USD20.1 billion in the end of 2016 — This segment is dominated by international brands, largely due to their affordability, the sheer volume of outlets across the region and heavy advertisement, according to the report.

Major industry trends like online ordering, casual dining, food trucks, kiosks and changing consumer palates are further increasing demand for fast food options in the region. On the other hand, casual dining registered mass appeal and interest in western-styled coffee culture, especially among youths.

Despite growing population, the continued GDP growth in the region has led to higher personal income levels, supporting food-service providers. Over the last decade, the GCC’s per capita income grew 3.4%, highlighting the region’s rising affluence levels.

Most of the GCC nations have also been developing their tourism industry as part of their economic diversification strategy, which has helped drive demand for the food-service sector, particularly in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the report stated.

Food services sector has surfaced as one of the most promising sectors in the GCC and has been rapidly growing over the past decade as a result of the flourishing economy, booming tourism, favorable demographics, rising urbanization and a sturdy rise in per capita income.

The sector appeals to consumers across a broad income and cultural spectrum, including locals, expatriates and visiting tourists from all over the world.