Dubai highlights growing importance of halal meat imports

By Georgi Gyton contact

- Last updated on GMT

Imports of meat have risen and fallen in line with population changes
Imports of meat have risen and fallen in line with population changes

Related tags: Halal meat, United arab emirates

With prospects for economic growth in Dubai and the UAE looking positive, imports of food, particularly meat, will becoming increasingly important as the city’s population grows, according to a report by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Based on a recent study by Thomson Reuters, in collaboration with Dinar Standard, the report stated that the overall halal food and beverage market was worth US$1.1 trillion last year, while the market in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was valued at around US$20bn in 2012, with meat a key component.

Around 10% of Dubai’s meat imports are re-exported annually, as the bulk is used for domestic consumption. "With meat constituting a major part of the diet of the population, demand is mostly unaffected by income variations,"​ said the Chamber.

Instead, imports have been driven by increases or decreases in population, peaking during 2007 and 2008 – a period of rapid economic development in the city.

The halal meat sector in the UAE is dominated by unpackaged meat, which, according to estimates, equates to around 78.7% of the market share, while packaged meat holds the remaining 21.3% share.

However, the report noted there was a distinct preference in the UAE for packaged food in general, as consumers look for convenience in an increasingly busy lifestyle, suggesting there was a long-term business opportunity in the halal food market for these types of product.

It also highlighted the potential for UAE businesses to source low-cost basic food products from countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America, which could then be further processed, packaged and branded and sold to international markets.

Dubai imports halal meat from a number of markets. Brazil supplied 53% of its meat in 2013 (166,000 metric tonnes/MT), while the US supplied 43,000MT and Australia 27,000MT. Pakistan, India and Ethiopia also supply halal meat to Dubai.

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