The withdrawal of Swiss food behemoth Nestlé from the Gulf ice cream market has cleared the path for other manufacturers to bolster prices in the local market, according to sources quoted in Gulf News.

The sector has experienced an intense price war over the last few months, and the multinationals appear to have lost out to local brands. According to a senior manager with a local firm, this ousting of overseas brands was the intention: “The UAE market has passed through one of the must bruising price wars in the ice cream and frozen desserts category. This was initiated by leading local brands to counter the overseas brands, and from their perspective, they have been successful in their aims.”

He added that, “now we are seeing a sort of informal grouping coming together and firming up prices across the board. We are also party to these discussions”.

Nestlé halted ice cream production at its Dubai plant in April, although no firm decision on the future of the plant has been made.

Anglo-Dutch conglomerate Unilever has also closed its Saudi Arabian Walls ice cream production plant, although there is no confirmation that Unilever plans to pull its brand from the UAE market completely.