The term ‘functional food’ was first used in Japan in the 1980s. It was specifically used to refer to those food products that not only provided essential nutrients but also helped reduce the risk of certain diseases. Although awareness about functional food products remained low for a long time, high internet penetration and proliferation of smartphones has meant that more people know the benefits of consuming functional foods.
The demand for functional foods has increased steadily all over the world. Consumers have become more aware about the link between diet and good health and are making conscious decisions while choosing food products for themselves and their loved ones.
GCC Functional Food Market Analysis & Forecast
The growing awareness about the benefits of including certain fruits and vegetables in the daily diet has augured well for the functional food market globally. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which includes United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Bahrain, is also witnessing a surge in demand for functional foods. According to the research conducted by Future Market Insights, a London based market research and consulting firm, the market value of functional food market in GCC was US$ 4.8 Bn in 2014. It is anticipated that the functional food market in GCC will expand at a rate of over 10% (CAGR) through 2020 and reach a valuation of around US$ 9 Bn.
Factors for Growth of GCC Functional Food Market
GCC region is economically advanced and internet connectivity and smartphone ownership is also high. Discussions about the importance on eating healthy food on forums, social media websites, and apps, such as WhatsApp have helped spread awareness, even among people who are not consciously looking for such information.
GCC has one of the world’s highest expat population, and the demand for functional foods from this segment has also been an important factor for the growth of the functional food market.
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Diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and obesity are closely linked with eating fast foods and other junk foods. Both print and online media in the GCC region has prominently highlighted the findings of studies on the growing obesity and diabetes levels, and this has also helped raise awareness about eating healthy foods.
Regional Outlook for GCC Functional Food Market
The functional food market in Saudi Arabia was valued at around US$ 2.3 Bn in 2014 and according to FMI’s analysis, the market will witness a CAGR of around 10% to reach a valuation of US$ 4.2 Bn by 2020. The market share of Saudi Arabia was around 48% in 2014 and it is anticipated that by 2020, it will reduce to around 46.8%.
United Arab Emirates
The functional food market in the United Arab Emirates is anticipated to witness a CAGR of nearly 11% through 2020 and reach a valuation of approximately US$ 2.6 Bn. According to FMI’s market research report, it is projected that UAE’s market share in terms of revenue will be around 29%.
Oman functional food market is expected to witness a double-digit CAGR through 2020 and reach a valuation of US$ 663 Mn. Oman had a share of around 7% in terms of revenue in 2014.
The functional food market in Kuwait is projected to witness a CAGR of over 12% to reach a valuation of US$ 766 Mn by 2020. The market share of Kuwait will witness a growth rate of over 12% through 2020.
The functional food market in Qatar is projected to expand at a double-digit CAGR and reach a valuation of over US$ 500 Mn. The market share of Qatar is anticipated to be worth 6% by 2020.
The functional food market in Bahrain is projected the highest CAGR among all the GCC nations and reach a valuation of US$ 250 Mn (approx.) by 2020. Bahrain’s share in the GCC functional food market is anticipated to be around 2.7%, but as discussed previously, the Bahrain functional food market will witness the highest CAGR.
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Overall, the GCC functional food market is projected to witness a steady growth through 2020 and the key players will look to consolidate their position by broadening their product base and marketing their offerings through online and offline platforms.