Posted on October 01, 2014

A rise in disposable income and the popularity of high-end confectionery among middle-class consumers are driving demand across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s burgeoning sweets and savoury snacks market.

According to Euromonitor International, the sweets, snacks and confectionary industry has recorded 20 per cent year-on-year growth since 2010 and is predicted to grow at the same rate next year. The booming regional confectionary sector has led to this year’s Sweets & Snack Middle East 2014 – the region’s largest and most influential trade show for the snack and confectionery industry – attracting more than 170 regional and international confectionery manufacturers, distributors and retailers.

The participation surge has seen the event’s 8th edition - which returns to Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from 9-11 November – undergo impressive expansion, with the 2014 showcase boasting 42 per cent growth in floor-space compared to last year’s event and 100 per cent growth on 2012. Countries participating for the first time include Belgium, France, Singapore, Russia, Egypt and Syria, while mega national pavilions for Turkey and Germany are the largest since the show’s inception in 2007.

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“The stellar growth of Sweets & Snacks Middle East reflects the regional confectionary sector’s enduring prosperity and our sold-out eighth edition means the event is the only regional F&B-themed trade platform to boast a client waiting list outside of our flagship Gulfood and inaugural Gulfood Manufacturing events,” said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, DWTC. “Comprising global confectionery leaders and regional debutants, Sweets & Snacks Middle East 2014 will cover the entire sweets, snacks & confectionery sector - from raw ingredients, processing and finishing products, to producers and manufacturers of finished baked goods, biscuits, cocoa, chocolate and chocolate products, ice cream and raw pastes, snacks and sugar confectionery.”

With sweetened cocoa powder chocolate, sugar confectionery containing cocoa and other food stuffs with cocoa extract now among the top commodity imports in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, a recent KPMG report on chocolate sales indicates MENA will record 61 per cent growth in sales to reach AED21.17 billion (USD5.8 billion) in 2016. The UAE has emerged as one of the world’s most promising markets for chocolate sales per capita, with new-to-market brands including Patchi, Godiva, Butlers, Candylicious, Choco Laty, Forrey & Galland, Debauve & Gallais, Chocoa and Atalie Chocolates - coupled with the emergence of several local brands - projected to spur domestic consumption to a CAGR of around six per cent up to 2019 according to TechSci Research.

“Although sweets and confectionary have always been an integral part of the Middle Eastern culture, Sweets & Snacks Middle East stands alone as an industry-focused trade event designed to help retailers and distributors source new products and keep abreast of global trends,” said Manish Jeswani, Business Head at Candelite - a home-grown confectionery retail concept which retails over 50 brands across 26 stores in the UAE and Qatar. Widely-recognised as a strategic entry point into lucrative regional markets for international confectionary companies, Sweets & Snacks Middle East will play host to a series of regional launches this year, including Packom Sweets’Jake vitamincandy – a sugar-free candy range rich in vitamins.

“With the territory’s diverse customs and resident demographics, opening distribution channels in the Middle East is a key growth strategy for Packom Sweets and the Jake vitamincandy product line in particular,” said Nicholas Busuioc, Chief of Operations, Packom Sweets. “Due to the vast array of flavors and slew of benefits the Jake vitamincandy product line offers, Packom Sweets anticipates a very positive response from regional consumers and potential partners at November’s Sweets & Snacks Middle East.”

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A host of new features will greet exhibitors and visitors at this year’s event including the Sweets & Snacks Middle East Awards, which will recognise leading industry confectionery companies’ innovative launches and showcase winning products on a static display on the show floor. The largest edition of Sweets & Snacks Middle East to date will also feature a series of informative discussions by industry leaders at the inaugural Autumn Food & Drink Seminar Theatre, while the latest regional and international market trends will be highlighted via a 3D imaging display on the show floor. Sweets & Snacks Middle East’s popular Hosted Buyer Programme also returns with a 25 per cent year-on-year increase in participants.

Open from 10am-6pm on November 9-10 and 10am-5pm on November 11, Sweets and Snacks Middle East is organised alongside The Speciality Food Festival and SEAFEX. The three niche food shows are for trade and business professionals only. General public and persons under the age of 21 will not be permitted entry. Registration is available at the show upon proof of trade status.

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