The Middle-East and Africa ready-to-eat food market is projected to witness a CAGR of 2.8%, during the forecast period.
- The major factor driving the growth of the frozen food market is convenience. Young consumers spend most of their income on convenient, ready-to-eat food products. Other factors affecting the market are the changing food consumption patterns, due to increasing urbanization, which is driving the ready-to-eat food market in the region.
- In addition, high focus on export, the adaptation of new technologies, innovative promotional techniques, gaining special attention in retail format stores, retailers going for private label RTE meals, launching innovative and region-specific products, and frozen RTE products gaining popularity are other factors fueling the market growth.
Key Market Trends
Rising Demand for Baked Goods in the Region
The shifting consumer preference toward wheat products and demand for convenient, baked goodies are driving the Middle-East and African bakery products market. The manufacturers are also providing customers with clean labels for better transparency. This provides the customers with a clear picture of what is used in the making of the products consumed by them. In addition, products, such as preservative-free, gluten-free, cholesterol-free, GMO-free, and low sodium products, are being frequently launched by the leading players that are suitable for diabetics and are rich in fiber, protein, and calcium to meet the consumers' demand, especially who are health-conscious. Furthermore, the inclusion of pulses, seeds, and beans, such as broad beans, fava beans, and kidney beans, in cookies provides the consumers with the necessary proteins. Domestic players dominate the market with many small and medium-size companies competing for market share. For instance, Al Meera, one of the largest hypermarket/supermarket retail companies in Qatar, has its own bakery product manufacturing plant, Al Oumara Bakeries Company W.L.L.
South Africa to Dominate the Regional Market
The increasing demand for ready-to-eat food products in South Africa is influenced by hectic lifestyles, owing to the volatile economy, increasing urbanization, and the growing professional middle class. This factor, in turn, has fueled the demand for convenient and easy-to-prepare meals. The South African manufacturers continue to focus on unit prices, promotions, and product innovations, in terms of flavor offerings. Ready meal retailed at lower prices (compared to chilled and fresh food) offers a competitive advantage to the lower-income group of consumers. Some of the grocery retailers in the country offering ready-to-eat foods include Shoprite, Pick and Pay, Spar, Massmart, and Metcash (RSA).
The Middle-East and African ready-to-eat food market is competitive in nature, having a large number of domestic and multinational players competing for market share. Merger and acquisition, expansion, and partnerships, along with new product developments, are the strategic approaches adopted by the leading companies to boost their brand presence among consumers. Key players dominating the regional market include Unilever, McCain Foods Limited, MTR Foods Pvt Ltd, Woolworths Group Limited, Rhodes Food Group, and Mpilo-ende Fortified Foods Ltd, among others.
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