Did you know that Spain ranks as the 6th export market for the UK?
The Spanish market has been always important for the UK due to the number of Brits living and visiting the country, but with the Spanish market enjoying the greatest GDP increase in the Eurozone in 2016 it is a market which offers increasingly attractive opportunities for UK food and drinks brands, particularly within the health and wellness sector.
The economic recovery and positive attitude of the population where consumers are no longer focused on price but also on quality and taste is allowing many foreign brands to enter the country. In addition, with the changes in the Spanish lifestyle and the stress of daily challenges, consumers are becoming aware of the importance of having a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. Spanish consumers also love fresh products and their relationship with the sales staff in retail outlets and specialised stores continues to be very important, unlike the prolific rise of e-commerce we have seen in the UK.
As a result of this, there is a growing appetite for healthy products with 45% of Spanish consumers wanting more availability of healthier alternatives (Nielsen data). Therefore categories such as Free from, Vegetarian and Vegan are growing and Spanish consumers are now more concerned about the quality and the health benefits these items provide than ever before. This clearly creates opportunities for brands in this segment as well as British innovative products, which are usually more advanced than the Spanish ones. However, pricing is the main challenge for consumers within these categories, as organic and free from products are more expensive in the Spanish market. Other notable trends in the market include energy boosting products, coconut water and superfoods.
In the retailing landscape, Mercadona is leading the market with 20% of the share, followed by Carrefour and Dia. El Corte Inglés is the high-end supermarket, and then, specialised organic and health stores called “Herbolarios”, where organic or so-called “ecological” products can be found in Spain. Although you can find organic food in big retailers such as Mercadona, the main distribution channel is specialised stores such as Supersano.
There are many opportunities for UK innovative brands, so don’t miss out this chance – Spain is waiting to take your products!
Bolst Global will be participating in a health and wellness mission to Madrid in November 2017, at the Meet the Buyer event organised by DIT and Rees Consulting. We are offering the chance to a small number of participants to take part and gain a place on our programme. If you would like to see how we could help you understand and enter the Spanish market and take your brand out to the Spanish buyers and consumers then please get in touch and fill in the form below!
This would be the perfect opportunity to explore the market!
Don’t miss out on this opportunity!
Después de asistir al festival Gulfood en Dubai hace unos años y haber emprendido varios proyectos para clientes en este mercado, aquí en Bolst Global estamos en sintonía con este mercado cada vez más atractivo y con las tendencias y necesidades que contribuyen a su dependencia significativa en los importaciones. Como un famoso destino turístico popular que aprovecha también de una población creciente de expatriados, esta región constituye un principal destino posible para muchas marcas de comida saludable. Bolst Global ha asistido varias veces a Gulfood y además conocemos este mercado perfectos, Aquí os damos tres consejos.
#1: Es posible que los requisitos legales y la entrada al mercado no sean lo esperado
Cuando se exporta a un nuevo mercado extranjero, es demasiado fácil no saber prepararse para los diferentes requisitos entre su país de orígen y el país nuevo. Por ejemplo, en los EAU, las normas religiosas aseguran que cada producto que contenga carne (no importa la cantidad) debe tener una certificación de que esté sacrificada de acuerdo con la ley islámica. Además, se debe incluir un listado de todos los ingredientes en árabe, aunque es permisible utilizar una etiqueta adhesiva para eso.
No se confunda tampoco con las maneras de poner sus productos en las tiendas. La mayoría de tiendas prefieren comprar productos mediante distribuidores o consolidadores, que le pueden ofrecer apoyo con el mercado local y los requisitos, y que también ofrecen la ventaja de poder importar cantidades más pequeñas en lugar de comprar a granel.
#2: Sepa que los EAU dependen mucho en algunas importaciones
El Cooperative Council (GCC) importa una cantidad grande en comparación con su producción de comida en general, y los EAU no constituyen una excepción. Debido al clima duro y la escasez de agua potable, la agricultura es fuertemente limitada y se vuelve más caro para los granjeros. Claro que esto tiene un impacto significativo en los precios de productos: los clientes que deseen comprar productos orgánicos, por ejemplo, tendrán que pagar tres o cuatro veces más que el precio de productos normales.
Otro producto que se importa muy a menudo en los EAU son los lácteos: ya se puede encontrar muchas marcas extranjeras de yogur o queso en las tiendas en los EAU.
#3: Infórmese sobre las nuevas tendencias y oportunidades
> Las comidas sin: lactosa, gluten, etcétera
Según Euromonitor, hay una nicho de mercado creciente para las comidas que no contienen ciertas ingredientes como la lactosa, o el gluten, y aún los sin azúcar o carne. No es solamente porque más personas creen que tienen alergias, sino porque más personas han elegido evitar estos ingredientes para estar más sanos.
> Las comidas de deporte
Entre 2011 y 2016, había un crecimiento de 98,5% en el valor de productos de nutrición deportiva. Como más y más personas se dan cuenta de las ventajas de deporte para complementar una dieta saludable, dirigen la atención hacia productos que les ayuden: los que dan energía o aportan un beneficio nutricional, como los productos de alto contenido protéico. Productos de proteína constituyeron el 83% de ventas en 2016, de los cuales la mayoría fue las proteínas en polvo y las bebidas de alto contenido proteico. Esta tendencia es particularmente significativa puesto que los medios de comunicación occidentales estimulan la demanda para la apariencia muscular y las generaciones jóvenes buscan obtener los mismos resultados que promueven las celebridades.
> Las variedades de té
Este sector ha sido promovido no solamente por el influjo de expatriados indios y árabes, que prefieren ciertos tipos de té, sino también por la cantidad creciente de nuevas sabores y variedades de té. En particular, hay una tendencia hacia los tés con propiedades especiales o funcionales, como el té para adelgazar. Además, esta categoría aprovecha el apoyo de los blogueros y fanáticos en las redes sociales. Así no es sorprendente que el té haya visto un crecimiento de valor de 7% en el último año, y aquí es posible que haya una oportunidad para marcas inglesas que ya tienen una reputación en Inglaterra.
Si quieres saber más de las maneras en las que su producto podría ganar terreno en este mercado emocionante, fíjese a nuestros servicios o mándanos un email con tus datos para que podamos ayudarte con lo que necesites.
The UAE, like many countries across the world, is seeing huge changes to its population in terms of attitudes to eating and consumption habits. But just what are these trends and what could they mean for your product’s entry into this huge market?
Trend #1: a growing hunger for organic foods
Organic food is the biggest and fastest growing market in the UAE region, driven by high disposable incomes coupled with a greater awareness of health issues and the benefits of organic produce; in a recent study in the UAE, around 80% of the sampled population agreed with the suggestion to improve availability, pricing and education in relation to organic produce. This is in line with government targets, as farmers are increasingly encouraged to use land to grow organically.
However, the market is hugely limited by the climate of the area, as the lack of potable water and the high costs of desalination means that the UAE must rely heavily on imports. This could mean an opportunity for UK products which are able to gain organic certification and gain traction in this fast-growing market.
Trend #2: sports nutrition is on the move
Sports nutrition saw a 98.5% value growth from 2011 to 2016, alongside an increase in sales of sports nutrition products, weight management products, and vitamin supplements. As more and more people come to realise the benefits of sport and exercise to complement a healthy and balanced diet, so too do they turn towards products which can aid them – either by boosting energy or by providing a nutritional or physical benefit, such as protein products. The latter accounted for 83% of overall sales in 2016, of which protein powders formed the greatest proportion and was followed by protein bars and RTDs (Ready To Drink). This is especially significant as Western media boosts demand for the muscular, toned look, and younger generations seek to achieve the results advertised by products or encouraged by online campaigns and celebrities.
This interest in Western ideals and sports nutrition could mean a gap in the market for up and coming UK protein-based products, who could use this rising trend to build a reputation and brand loyalty with new consumers who are just starting to turn towards this kind of product. Products could do especially well if they are able to combine a functional sports aid with another key trend: for example, by using organic produce or appealing to speciality free-from diets.
Trend #3: free-from foods flourish
Another category which is fast becoming a niche opportunity for UK exporters is that of the free-from sector – thanks to popular western or celebrity diets and a growing perception of eating gluten-free foods as a healthier and more attractive lifestyle, the UAE has seen Free From packaged food grow by 19% in 2016, most of which has come from gluten-free bread. The latter saw the most dynamic value growth in 2016, although its sales have been boosted not by people who are genuinely intolerant to gluten, but rather by those who see it as healthier or more fashionable: it is a lifestyle symbol as opposed to a functional choice.
However, as the UAE does not currently issue a gluten-free certificate, most of these products are imported. This therefore represents a strong opportunity for UK brands who could use this recognition and certification to appeal to both consumers who require gluten-free products for their health as well as those who choose it as part of their fashion diet.
Trend #4: on-the-go snacking is on the up
In 2016, savoury snacks saw a retail value growth of 14%, an increase which has mostly been supported by new demand for convenience as well as healthy alternatives to traditional snack foods. As such, nuts, seeds and trail mixes was the most dynamic category, while rice snacks saw the highest % percentage volume growth at 85.4 between 2011 and 2016.
This trend was also boosted by the choice of many manufacturers to provide a greater variety and flexibility of pack sizes, allowing snacks to be taken on the go and portion sizes to be controlled.
This category is already largely populated with international brands which benefit from brand recognition and loyalty among consumers, such as Kettle Chips, Lay’s, Pringles, Doritos, and others, although local brands such as Best and Gyma Bayara lead value sales in the nuts, seeds, and trail mixes category as many of these products already feature in traditional diets. This could be beneficial for UK brands, knowing that consumers in the UAE are already willing to look to international brands for their savoury snacks – but it also indicates an already crowded market, with strong competition from pre-established brands. With some innovation and perhaps a combination with other trends, however, it is very possible that this could form an export opportunity for your product.
Trend #5: tea is a hot topic
The UAE is one of the few countries where tea can be pitched to different demographic segments of the population based on different ways of consuming tea among different nationalities, a factor which can make marketing of related products more complicated. Nevertheless, the category is being boosted by the growing number of flavour options, as well as the health and wellness trend. Online bloggers and fitness enthusiasts extol tea’s benefits, while others revel in the range of new blends and origins. As such, tea has seen a 7% retail value growth in 2016, with particular consumer preference for speciality black tea and fruit/herbal teas which sell at a higher unit price than standard black tea.
The trend is also strongly supported by the influx of Indian and Arab expats into the region, as well as a trend towards tea with functional properties such as slimming tea. This could represent a great opportunity for UK brands offering new and exciting flavours or properties to this market, although the heavy competition could be a barrier to entry. Teas with brand recognition in the UK may also benefit from brand loyalty among expatriates in the UAE.
If you would like to know more about the ways your product could gain traction and enter this thriving and exciting new foreign market, why not take a look at our programmes or send us an email with your details for tailored support to suit your needs?
Thanks for reading!
Having attended the Gulfood food and beverage exhibition in Dubai for the past few years and undertaken various assignments for clients in this market here at Bolst Global we are attuned to this increasingly attractive market and the trends and requirements which contribute to its significant reliance on imports. The UAE is the UK’s 12th biggest export market, and as a fast growing tourist destination as well as benefiting from an increasing expatriate population, it forms a major potential destination for many health food brands. Here are just three of the things we found out in our in-depth research and attendance at the Gulfood event:
- Routes to entry and requirements might not be what you expect
When exporting to a new market, it is all too easy to fall into the trap of not knowing or being prepared for the differences in requirements between the UK and other countries. In the UAE, for example, religious aspects means that any products containing meat (no matter how little!) must have a halal certification. It must also have the ingredients listed in arabic at the very least (though a sticker may be used for this), as well the manufacture date and the expiry date in indelible ink. No more confusing UK ‘best before’ date!
Don’t get caught out by the ways to get your products into stores, either; most retailers prefer to buy through intermediaries such as a consolidator, who will have the advantage of being able to import small quantities instead of buying in bulk, and may smooth out any labelling changes you need to make. Alternatively, you may choose to go through a distributor, which cover all sectors of the trade, and may offer support with the local market and product regulations as well as some of the marketing and awareness raising of your brand.
- Know that the UAE is heavily reliant on some imports
As seen in the graph, many of the countries which make up the Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) import a large quantity in comparison with their overall food production, and the UAE is no exception. This is due to the harsh climate and scarce potable water, which strongly limits agriculture and makes farming more expensive. This obviously also impacts upon retail prices: due to high import rates and costs of growing locally, consumers wishing to purchase organic goodscan expect to pay 4-5 times the amount for conventional products. See our blog post on organic foods in the UAE to find out more.
Another product which is largely imported is dairy: many UK brands of yogurts and cheese can already be found in many retail outlets in the UAE, and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is the second largest region for dairy imports.
- Be aware of changing trends and new opportunities
> Free-from: According to findings by Euromonitor, there is a growing niche for free-from (gluten-free, lactose-free, etc), organic foods, diabetic products and functional products. This is largely due to increased awareness of issues surrounding health and food; 66% of men and 60% of women are considered to be overweight, and one fifth are diabetic, leading the government to seek solutions to improve public health. Such initiatives have included the Dubai Health Association which placed stationary bikes in all DHA facilities with the intention of later extending to other public spaces.
> Sports/fitness foods: Interest in health and fitness is especially prevalent among the younger population, where choosing to live and eat healthily is seen as an attractive lifestyle, and alongside this attitude the UAE is seeing an increase in sales of sports nutrition products, weight management products, and vitamin supplements. Sports nutrition products saw a 98.5% value growth from 2011 to 2016.
> Drinks: There is also a growing market for tea; the region makes up 25% of all global tea imports, and is largely dominated by traditional loose tea and traditional black tea, although popularity for green and herbal teas is increasing too. In other drinks categories, islamic restrictions on alcohol have led to a strong growth in non-alcoholic drinks, amongst which the demand for soft drinks is moving more towards healthier or flavoured drinks. Again, the climate is an influencing factor here and sales of bottled water are particularly important.
Want to know more about how your business could begin or continue its journey to another export market in the UAE? The good news is that with our detailed research and tailored guidance, we can equip you with all you need to make the best decisions for your brand and gain traction in this very diverse and growing region. If you would like to know more, let us know and contact us!
*All data obtained from Euromonitor and BCB 2016 report, accessed August 2017
Behind the bright lights of this growing market lies a shifting attitude to food and health.
According to a study investigating consumer attitudes towards health and organic foods*, more than 70% of the sampled population in the UAE acknowledged the health and environmental benefits of buying and eating organic foods, and around 80% agreed with the suggestion to improve availability, pricing and education in relation to organic produce..
This reflects a country which is becoming ever more interested in buying and consuming healthy foods – organic food is the biggest and fastest growing market in the region**, driven by high disposable incomes coupled with a greater awareness of eating and health issues. The UAE ministry of Environment and Water has set a target to use more farmland for growing organic crops, but this is a difficult task due to the lack of potable water and the cost of desalination. Understandably, this leads to a very high rate of imports, as well as more expensive products, a factor which has been marked as a major barrier to people buying organic foods.
Farming methods and lack of certification has also been blamed, suggesting that consumers would be more willing to pay the premium price if it were certain that the products had been produced in the correct way.
Despite this barrier, availability of organic packaged goods is improving, with leading supermarket and hypermarket chains such as Spinney’s and the French brand Carrefour increasing their organic product ranges. Previously, organic foods had been found mainly in specialist chains. Among these product ranges, organic reduced fat milk is the most dynamic, while organic baby food has also seen huge growth (current value growth of 22%), going from 6.3 million sales in 2010 to 17.2 million in 2015.**
If you would like to know more about market trends and practical information on exporting to the UAE, why not check out our blog post on exporting to the UAE? Alternatively, take advantage of our experience and knowledge of this market, and let us know about your brand and internationalising needs with the form below.
Thanks for reading!
*Al-Taie, W., Rahal, M., AL-Sudani, A. and AL-Farsi, K. (2015). Exploring the Consumption of Organic Foods in the United Arab Emirates. SAGE Open, 5(2).
** Euromonitor, accessed August 2017