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Dubai tea bag producer brews record results

Beverage, Tea, Coffee Unsplash/Drew Taylor
DMCC Tea Centre had a record-breaking year and forecast further growth for 2023
  • UAE is fifth tea trading hub after Sri Lanka, China, Kenya and India
  • Tea is second most widely consumed drink after water
  • Price of tea for UAE consumers increased by 28% year on year

DMCC Tea Centre has revealed production of tea bags at its Jebel Ali Free Zone facility was up 27 percent year on year in 2022.

Saeed Al Suwaidi, director of agri-commodities at Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre (DMCC), described it as a “record-breaking” year and forecast further growth for 2023 driven by technology and automation.

“We expect the tea centre to deliver yet another strong performance,” he said.

Al Suwaidi told the eighth edition of the Global Tea Forum on Wednesday that the Dubai centre, which was launched in DMCC 18 years ago, produced 8.3 million kilos of packaged tea in 2022, including over 400 million tea bags, which were exported across the world.

Over the course of the year, the UAE’s total tea trade, which includes imports, exports and re-exports, hit almost 200,000 tons, worth $870 million, reflecting a 14 percent growth in terms of volume compared to 2021.

“The UAE is one of the top tea trading hubs in the world,” said Ahmed bin Sulayem, executive chairman and CEO of DMCC.

Tea is the second most widely consumed drink in the world, after water, with the global market size expected to hit $266.7 billion by 2025, according to the Statista Consumer Market Outlook.

In 2021 the UAE ranked fifth in the tea trade globally, behind Sri Lanka, China, Kenya and India, accounting for 5 percent of global business in terms of value.

The DMCC Tea Centre connects major tea producing countries such as China, India and Kenya, with consumer markets in Europe, Africa and the Americas.

Al Suwaidi said strong interest was coming from both the East and West, particularly from South America and China, fuelled by increased consumption during the Covid lockdowns three years ago.

“Traditional coffee-drinking people are starting to really enjoy tea. This is exceptional,” he said.

DMCC works and partners with 350 tea and coffee companies, of which 250 are large and 100 are small to medium sized enterprises.

The price of tea for consumers in the UAE increased by almost 28 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2023, according to the UAE Ecommerce Consumer Price Index compiled by consultancy Pattern.

Pattern’s general manager for the Mena region, David Quaife, said it had been a “turbulent time” for businesses and attributed the rise in supply chain disruptions “coupled with increased costs of materials, labour and shipping”.

Al Suwaidi agreed that the price of logistics was the “main challenge that’s happening right now” in the industry but revealed they were “working with” Dubai-based logistics and shipping giant DP World to remedy the situation.