Health craze boosts Gulf’s meat consumption

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Bullish forecasts suggest that the GCC’s annual meat and poultry consumption will increase to 4.3m tonnes by 2019, with demand for healthy and halal products driving the segment’s growth.

That’s according to researchers at Alpen Capital, who have reported increasing consumption across the six Gulf states that is in line with rising global trends towards protein-rich foods, and especially to organic and healthy produce with strong brand provenance.

Recent links to health risks, such as last year’s reclassification of meats by the World Health Organisation to the status of “Group 1 carcinogen”, have prompted companies to “emphasise the benefits of meat consumption”, including meat’s nutritional content and its high-quality proteins

As consumers place more emphasis on a food’s nutrition, boosting a regional organic market that is estimated to be worth some US$1.5bn by 2018, manufacturers are “likely to include a greater variety of less processed products in their portfolio”, Euromonitor International has predicted.

According to the the Halal Food Information Centre, manufacturers stand to gain from aggressive Gulf government policies to promote healthy eating to help reduce the region’s obesity problem. 

These policies have been credited for driving demand for better nutrition—they have, in turn, also led to an increase in the number of producers vying for a share of a market.

Broiler manufacturers should follow this health trend among GCC consumers by developing a variety of processed chicken products,” the centre said in a statement. 

Moreover, they should advertise that their products are good for health due to being a source of high protein but also a low-fat food, making it even more attractive for consumers in the region.”

GCC health-awareness campaigns have also been credited for driving demand for healthier food as many consumers now pay more attention to their diet. This in turn has led to an increase in number of producers vying for a share of a market that is increasingly seeking healthy and trusted food sources. 

Murat Kunt, general manager of Turkish poultry producer Banvit-Banvit’s Gulf subsidiary, said meat consumption in the GCC currently stood at 40kg per person, though he expected it to grow even further, backed by healthy eaters and a smart response to consumer trends.

Day by day, consumers are getting more health conscious. By adapting our production to this trend, we have introduced additive-free further-processed products to the market after two years of research,” he said. 

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