For packaged food manufacturers with ambitions for international growth, the Middle East presents an opportunity, with growing populations enjoying rising incomes. In its management briefing on the region, just-food provides a flavour of what leading food and drink executives have said about Middle East in recent weeks.
“The Middle East is a big export market, and it’s a growing market. Growth markets in the world are not so many so it has attention from most of our key competitors” – Vishal Tikku, vice president and area director for Mondelez International in the region, on the competitive landscape in the Middle East.
“There is definitely a lack of harmonisation in terms of regulatory affairs. It is an element that is adding complexity in some countries like the UAE” – Yves Manghardt, the CEO of Nestle’s Middle East division, outlines a challenge facing companies operating in the region.
“I’m really excited about what’s going on in the Middle East. I think we’re building a great business in the Middle East. And we actually looked earlier this week at some of their franchise economics. They’re off the charts” – Dunkin’ Brands chairman and CEO Nigel Travis.
“Saudi Arabia there is a little bit of a transition underway associated with the Saudis attempting to ensure that more Saudis are employed and therefore they are not renewing work leases as they have in the past. So we’re seeing a little bit of decline in consumer spending associated with that, but this is not unique to Crown, it’s to everyone through the region” – Crown Holdings chairman and CEO John Conway.
“We have had very good growth in cereal, double digit growth. We have had good growth in Pringles, mid-single digit growth type range, and we think the combination of two businesses gives us enough scale to invest back and to keep driving this business, over time” – Kellogg president and CEO John Bryant.
“Growth has continued in a number of markets notably in the Middle East and North Africa driven by an increase in the adult population. We continue to witness adult consumer up trading to higher price cigarettes in the EMEA region” – André Calantzopoulos, CEO, Philip Morris International.
“Our Middle East and North Africa business is small, but fast-growing. We are still in the early stage of development in India [but] with a combined population of more than 1.8 billion and a burgeoning packaging food industry these three geographic are highly attractive and we believe our global platforms fit well here” – Chris O’Leary, COO of General Mills’ international business.
“There is a rising demand of dairy protein around the world. you got a rising demand from the middle class that continues to grow. That is present, not only in China, but we’re starting to see a lot of interest from Japan, Taiwan, the Middle East” – Saputo CEO Lino Saputo.
“During the quarter, BRF announced two transactions in the Middle East in support of the plan to increase its penetration in the halal market – a market where we believe our leadership can be further enhanced” – Cláudio Galeazzi, CEO of Brazil-based food group BRF.
“We will have more shops out there. The deal we have signed will probably see us open about 20 to 25 shops in that territory” – Waitrose MD Mark Price.