Middle East review: The Top 10 most-read Middle East food and beverage stories in 2022

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

Read our top 10 most viewed Middle East food and beverage stories in 2022.
Read our top 10 most viewed Middle East food and beverage stories in 2022.

Related tags Middle east 2022

Read our top 10 most viewed Middle East food and beverage stories in 2022, featuring several well-known regional brands.

Supply struggles: Ferrero Group’s main nut source in Turkey at risk of collapse due to weather crises

The Ferrero Group’s main hazelnut supply chain in Turkey was noted earlier this year to be facing major risk of collapse due to climate changes and erratic weather conditions having badly affecting hazelnut production, which could impact well-known brands from Ferrero Rocher to Nutella.

According to a new report, Turkey has been subject to erratic, unpredictable weather conditions and natural disasters including droughts, floods and forest fires over the past few years, which has taken a toll on the country’s hazelnut production and supply.

Targeting non-vegans: UAE’s Freakin’ Healthy expands into ready-to-eat category with clean label vegan cheese spread

UAE-based snack company Freakin’ Healthy further expanded its better-for-you product range  in 2022 with the launch of a new plant-based cheese spread.

Established in 2018, the firm is best known for its clean label, vegan and healthy chocolate bars, superfood bars and protein balls, after which it launched a vegan meal subscription service in 2020.

The release of the cheese spread, which came in four flavours, marked its decision to expand the customer base and product portfolio under the firm's  ready-to-eat category.

Oil turmoil: Turkish brand SUNKOY eyes 10% of country’s edible oil exports in 2023

Turkish edible oil brand SUNKOY has highlighted its target of a 10% stake in the country’s oil exports by 2023, despite facing speed bumps from the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

According to the founder and CEO of the brand’s parent company HVS Group, Mikail Cosar, the turmoil did affect the firm’s production plans and supply chain. Despite the delays, Cosar shared that Turkish edible oil exports managed to reach US$1.7bn in the first half of 2022, and the value is expected to be the same for the second half.

Mirroring that projection, SUNKOY is targeting a market share of 3% to 5% this year and up to 10% for 2023. To achieve this goal, the brand has set its sights on numerous markets, chiefly the Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Africa and the US.

Sweet savings: Sugar reduction an effective cost-cutting solution to overcome Middle East inflation challenges

Sugar reduction strategies were highlighted by Tate and Lyle earlier this year as an effective tool to cut production costs and lower prices whilst also satisfying Middle East consumer and government demand for healthier productsLyle.

Product pricing and cost-cutting strategies are of particular concern for food and beverage manufacturers in the Middle East, due to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) having projected a continued high level of inflation at 13.9% throughout 2022, triggered primarily by the Russia-Ukraine war as it has traditionally been dependent on these two countries and is generally dependent on foreign food imports which have dropped.

This is in addition to the implementation of sugar taxes in some markets such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia, which are significant at a 50% rate for all sugar-sweetened beverages with added sugar or sweeteners and 100% for energy drinks.

Daring dairy dive: Baladna confirms plans for 2025 dairy product commercialisation in Malaysia

Qatar dairy powerhouse Baladna has confirmed plans earlier in 2022 for a dairy venture in Malaysia that is expected to produce hundreds of millions of litres of fresh milk to plug existing gaps in local production.

Baladna had been discussing its entry into Malaysia with local government and industry leaders since as far back as 2020, with then-CEO Malcolm Jordan telling us back then that Malaysia is a prime candidate to benefit from Baladna’s expertise in establishing dairy self-sufficiency.

This came after the firm helped its homeland Qatar overcome a dairy crisis when the country was facing a food supply crisis in 2017, when trade was blocked over claims of terrorism support.

Looking good: UAE’s first ‘ugly’ grocery delivery service highlights beauty of stemming food waste

The UAE’s first ‘ugly fruit and vegetables’ delivery service told us earlier this year of its mission to raise awareness of food waste and highlight the nutritional and taste quality of its products.

Launched at the end of 2021, EroeGo sources ‘ugly’ fruits and vegetables directly from farmers, markets and wholesalers in UAE, packs them into a box, and delivers direct to consumers in Dubai weekly.

Food waste is a huge global issue, and in the UAE, around one million tonnes of food is still wasted each year. A lot of this waste comes from supermarkets turning down groceries that are 'ugly' or considered to be excess produce.  

Investment potential: The countries ripe for foodtech and ag-tech funding in Asia, ME revealed

India, China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been tipped as foodtech and ag-tech investment hotspots by regional experts, while Vietnam and the Philippines are said to be among the next wave of opportunities available.

That was the view of Isabelle Decitre and Vandana Dhaul from investment and advisory firm ID Capital, the organisers of the Future Food Asia Awards.

Sweet sustainability: Australian Honey Ventures set foot in Kuwait and UAE with medicinal range

Australian Honey Ventures launched its medicinal honey brand, Real Good Honey, in Kuwait and UAE in March 2022, with plans to expand further into the Middle East.

The firm develops medicinal honey with anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties said to promote wound healing and can kill infectious pathogens including fungi.

Its first honey brand called BeeWell was launched in 2020 in China. It is sold on Tmall in China, HKTVMall in Hong Kong, and not sold in Australia.

Dairy self-sufficiency in Asia: Baladna eyes more South East Asian markets after Malaysia success

Qatari dairy giant Baladna highlighted intentions to look at more markets in South East Asia to bring its sustainable dairy self-sufficiency model to after successfully securing and setting up its joint venture in Malaysia in 2022.

The firm had just confirmed its dairy venture plans in Malaysia earlier in the year to initiate operations by 2025 and produce 100 million litres of fresh milk annually within the first three years.

Several months on, the firm then firmed up more aspects of its business strategy and has stated that the initial focus will be on Malaysia’s liquid milk market.

Freeze in the Middle East! Major opportunities for frozen snacks growth if cold chain challenges can be met

The Middle East emerged as a prime location for growth of the frozen snacks sector due to its climate and rising consumer demand, but innovation is needed to overcome longstanding cold chain challenges.

With climate change, temperatures in the region are soaring even higher – the summer of 2021 saw Iran hit 51°C, Iraq hit 51.5°C and Kuwait hit 53.2°C. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Oman all recorded temperatures well over 50°C as well – and worse yet, scientists have stated that the Middle East is warming at twice the global average, and will be an additional 4°C warmer by 2050.

With this extreme heat reaching near-unbearable levels, more and more consumers in this region are seeking out cold food and beverage product options to cool themselves down – a major opportunity for manufacturers of frozen food and beverage products to capitalise on.

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