UAE organic retail sector gains momentum: Experts

DUBAI – The organic retail sector in the UAE and the Middle East, particularly in GCC, is on an accelerated growth course with increasing consumer awareness on a healthy lifestyle and entry of new players into this segment triggering an emerging competition.

Addressing a Press conference to unveil the details of the ninth edition of the Middle East Natural and Organic Products Expo (MENOPE ’11), starting December 5 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, organisers and retail representatives said there are clear indications that the market for natural and organic products across categories has picked up significant momentum in the last few years.

MENOPE 2011 is endorsed by the Dubai Municipality. It is supported by International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), Germany, Ministry of Agriculture Lebanon, Department of Agriculture Philippines, Aga Marketing Austria, and National Chamber of Sri Lanka etc.

There is significant country pavilion participation as well at MENOPE 2011 from Austria, India, Korea, Philippines, USA, Romania, Srilanka, Lebanon, Iran, and Taiwan. The participating countries in MENOPE 2011 include the UAE, Italy, United Kingdom, Germany, China, Thailand, Malaysia and Slovenia, Canada, among others.

MENOPE 2011 will showcase a variety of products spanning across Herbals and Spices, Food Beverages, Cereal Products, Supplements, Health Care products, Natural Living, Natural and Organic Cosmetics, Healing Products, Natural remedies, Traditional Medicines, Spas, Relaxation facilities, and Fabrics.

“From a slow beginning, the regional organic products market is certainly on an upswing as more and more consumers continue to shift away from conventional encouraged by the health benefits of these products. The gradual expansion of the organic market base is also fuelled by the entry of a host of new focused players bringing in new products and global brands into the regional market,” said Eng. Nadim Al Fuqaha, managing director, Global Links, organisers of MENOPE.

MENOPE is Middle East’s only exhibition for natural and organic products and this year over 100 exhibitors from 25 countries will take part in the niche show. The expo will run from December 5- 7 2011  and the highlights of the three-day expo includes the second two-day MEVEG Conference and a  conference on  traditional complementary and alternative medicines.

Confirming the growth trend and the potential, Juma Al Hosani, chairman of Organic, a new company exclusively focused on natural products launched recently, said: “Awareness is the key to the growth of the organic sector and thanks to the increase in the number of players in the market and the competitive environment it will create, there will be enhanced efforts at educating the consumer on the benefits of these products.”

“Over the years, we have experienced the number of consumers opting for organic foods rise gradually and we believe that the organic market is poised to grow further in the UAE and the region in line with the global growth for these products,” said Haresh Bhatia – Choithrams.

He said that Choithrams is participating in MENOPE with the key motive of promoting fresh and healthy living.  MENOPE would be an ideal platform to showcase the healthy, organic product range being offered at Choithrams retail, he added.

—abdulbasit@khaleejtimes.com

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