Evolution is key to Middle East expansion

By Noel Ebdon

- Last updated on GMT

Food companies looking for success in the Middle East must innovate to survive, says XTC
Food companies looking for success in the Middle East must innovate to survive, says XTC

Related tags Middle east

Food companies must continue to evolve the way they make and market their products for the region’s consumers, or face the possibility of being forced out of the market altogether, according to an industry consultant.

Xavier Terlet, CEO of the global food industry consultants, XTC World Innovation, says that as Middle East consumer preferences steer toward healthier and more convenient options, food makers will need to stay on top of the innovation game in order to stand out among competitors and appeal to changing consumer trends.

He said: “Middle East consumers, as with consumers all over the world, look for pleasure before anything else when they eat food. And the key for pleasure is to provide something different and new, because eating the same food over and over again is boring.”

“The food industry has to propose new products to the consumer – products with new tastes and health guarantees that come with convenient packaging to match the new way of life. A food company with no innovation strategy will surely be condemned,”​ he said.

Terlet’s comments came ahead of SIAL Middle East 2013, taking place from 24-26 November at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), at which he is the president of the judging panel for the SIAL Innovation Award.

The SIAL Innovation Award will put a spotlight on 70 of the most innovative food and beverage products out of 120 submissions, including winners from the global competitions at SIAL events.

Among the shortlisted products are a sherbet flavoured fruit drink from Azerbaijan; banana with peach flavoured baby food from the Czech Republic; canned fishless tuna from the USA; and Benecol cholesterol-reducing milk from the UAE-based Al Ain Dairy company.

Joanne Cook, SIAL Middle East Director, said: “All products at the Innovation Area at SIAL Middle East are new and have not been repackaged or rebranded; the finalists are truly unique products that provide genuine health benefits brought about by extensive research and development.”

She added: “Last year at the Innovation Area was an inflight multi-beverage system designed for airline crews and passengers on long-haul flights, which offsets the principal stresses of long distance flying and improves hydration, blood circulation and recovery from the effects of altitude. This year, we expect to see similar examples of food innovation at its finest.”

Related topics Middle East

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