Though the company supplies more than 2,000 retailers, 5,000 restaurants and five airlines in the Gulf, most of its distribution is to the UAE, Qatar and Oman through regional partners.
The Italian giant said it hoped that by opening up Saudi’s market, which currently accounts for 55,000 tonnes a year and a per-capita consumption of 2kg, its business will grow by 5% over the next five years.
“Our expansion into Saudi Arabia marks a major milestone for Barilla as we continue to experience increased demand from the region,” said Loay Elkhouly, Barilla’s regional managing director, adding that the company has also moved into North Africa since it opened its Dubai headquarters in 2014.
“We are proud to be working with Mayar on our expansion into Saudi Arabia and are confident in the joint success that will be brought through their expertise and vision to provide Saudi Arabia consumers with top quality food products,” Elkhouly said of its distributor.
Barilla has seen recent growth in dietary awareness and consumer demand for authentic, Mediterranean diet foods in Saudi, prompting the move. Barilla Restaurant Group, another Barilla brand, also recently opened its first restaurant in the Middle East in Dubai and is planning further expansion in 2017.