We read about the on-going turbulence across the Middle East, and the impact from the record-low oil prices. Despite this, the first 1st observation is clear, and it force consumer brands and suppliers to the Beverage industry with global growth ambitions to reflect on their strategy for Healthy Business in the region:
Gulfood is held in Dubai for the 21st time, and growing year-on-year. This time it gathered +90.000 visitors and +5.000 exhibitors covering 160 countries. All this displayed across 127.000 sqm of exhibition space. So Gulfood is clearly an important forum for any and all beverage brands focused on global growth! This leads to the 2nd observation; Category & Segment Highlights
The Middle East is estimated to represent 8% of the global coffee consumption. Having said that the growth projections are impressive: in UAE alone the coffee consumption is expected to grow 35% in the coming 5 years. You could sense and see this when walking trough the exhibition halls of Gulfood.
Few, if any stalls at Gulfood created such floor traffic as the ‘Rani’ (and ‘Barbican’) bar. Free beverage is always appreciated, but the line-up for a ‘Rani is impressive also this year. It is interesting to see how the combined forces of Coca Cola and Rani will further build the brand equity.
Few beverage segments was as intensely engaged in the fight to be seen as the ‘new’ and ‘cool’. This taking into accounts that someone / something needs to take over from CSD’s as a ‘lifestyle carrier’, especially in a region with a huge teenage age group. The fact that beer and other alcoholic beverages don’t play the game, gives further room. But is an F1-car on display the solution? We see huge opportunities for sharper consumer segmentation and benefit focus!
From our perspective this represents a fundamental trap that we seen many beverage brands fall into: aiming for the Big volumes and forgetting the importance of the FourFactors®: Who Need the Product? Is the Ingredients Accepted? Do your target group Understand the Benefits you provide? And finally, Do your brand have the Trust?
There is another reason for the Healthy Marketing Team to be at Gulfood: the Food, Beverage and Ingredient markets in Middle East face rapid changes.
The alarming health issues including obesity and diabetes pandemics, enter the government’s action lists. Just look at UAE’s Vision2021. And consumers start to, slowly but surly, see the light and change their expectations and behavior! This leads to the final observation, which has been confirmed in the dialogues we had during the Gulfood event with leading consumer brands and supplier across the region:
Nutrition, Health and Wellness is something you must engage with, also in the Middle East. Can you take the ‘First Mover Advantage’ in your category?
Good luck with the growth of your Beverage Business in the Middle East!