The Middle East’s organics sector is set for a steady growth over the next few years, driven by consumers that are keen to embrace a healthier lifestyle, experts said at the 2021 Middle East Organic & Natural Products Expo Dubai.
Held under the patronage of the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), the event is being held at the Dubai World Trade Centre, and was inaugurated on Monday by Mohamed Ahmed AlDhanhani, acting assistant undersecretary of the Food Diversity Sector. The fourth edition of the International Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine Conference and Expo (TCAM) is also being held alongside the event from December 6-8, 2021.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, exhibition director Shinu Pillai, spoke about several trends that have accelerated the shift towards healthy and organic products. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, he noted that many consumers in the UAE and Middle East region were only “experimenting” with a limited number of organic products such as fresh fruits and vegetables. For many, purchasing organic products was more of an afterthought that involved replacing a few regular items with organic products in their weekly grocery shopping. However, all this changed during the Covid-19 pandemic when consumers began actively purchasing items that helped them build their immunity against the novel coronavirus.
“People now look at each and every aspect of the items that they are purchasing,” he said. “It is about more than just eating healthy; consumers today are much more knowledgeable about what goes into an item and how it is produced. They look at the tags on the packaging and they know what they mean.”
Also, he noted that the growth of the organics sector was in line with the increase in demand from consumers about healthier products. “The pandemic has accelerated the growth in the whole value chain, and this growth momentum will continue to grow.”
Organised by Global Links Exhibition, the Middle East Organic and Natural Product Expo Dubai 2021 hosts the Middle East’s only dedicated online wholesale marketplace ArabianOrganics.com for organic and natural products, which is the B2B portal of the expo.
With the Middle East importing up to 90 per cent of its food and more and more millennials opting for healthy and organic products, the event is featuring the Organic Super Kitchen where organic and healthy ingredients come to life during live cooking sessions by renowned master chefs. The Health & Wellness Studio is also hosting hourly sessions of laughing yoga and wellness sessions, while the Beauty Corner is helping visitors experience topical beauty treatment from the best in the craft. The Farmers Souq, which is supported by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, is hosting more than 10 UAE organic farms displaying farm fresh produce, besides underscoring the growth in the number of organic farms in the country.
Given the high potential of the UAE market and the access it provides to neighbouring countries, the event is presenting more than 200 exhibitors from over 45 countries including 10 country pavilions. The national pavilions include Russia, Spain, Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine, Latvia, Greece, Iran, Thailand, India. While the Russia Pavilion made its debut at the event, other newcomers include Belgium, Columbia, Czech Republic, Latvia, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan.
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