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Food & Drink

Food & drink news from the Middle East. All the important stories, exclusive interviews, plus authoritative opinion and analysis

A coffee farmer in Addayer, Jazan. The southwest Saudi province has 54,000 coffee trees

$16m pumped into coffee farms as Riyadh chases lofty target

Saudi Arabia has invested millions of dollars in the development of the local coffee sector over the past four years, but it is still 80 percent off its production target for 2026. The Sustainable Agricultural Rural Development Program (known as Reef Saudi) has allocated a total of SAR61 million ($16 million) to support over 3,700 […]

Dubai has more than 13,000 restaurants and cafes, according to tourism officials

Dubai restaurant scene ‘at risk of hitting saturation point’

Food and beverage operators in Dubai have warned that the emirate’s restaurant market is increasingly saturated as one company calls time on a prominent location. Gates Hospitality, which operates venues across the Middle East, announced this week that two of its restaurants in Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Folly and Publique, would close at the end of […]

The Ivy outlet in London

Gulf SWFs named as potential suitors of The Ivy

Gulf sovereign wealth funds are among a host of buyers said to be interested in taking charge of the group behind the UK’s prestigious Ivy restaurant. A £1 billion ($1.26 billion) sale is expected to be complete by the end of June. Troia, the company that owns the Ivy and some 50 other restaurants, is […]

Almarai will invest SAR5 blllion to expand existing categories such as bakery, dairy and juices

Almarai’s $4.8bn push to advance Saudi food security

Almarai, the Middle East’s largest dairy farm, will spend more than SAR18 billion ($4.8 billion) under its new five-year strategic plan to achieve food security, which is part of the kingdom’s Vision 2030 goal. “Investment in the food industry contributes to achieving food security in the kingdom and the region,” the company said in a […]

UAE business Ramadan

UAE businesses dispute predicted Ramadan downturn

UAE businesses are optimistic about Ramadan’s prospects in spite of a projected 10 percent decline in spending over the holy month. The anticipated dip is partly linked to considerable consumer expenditure after the pandemic and during recent festive sales, according to a study by Redseer Strategy Consultants. “The last two years were a period of […]

In Dubai, '80% of the wine lists are the same', but Abu Dhabi is opening to more alcohol brands

Alcohol brands blocked from Dubai target Abu Dhabi

Independent alcohol brands blocked from the Dubai market are entering the UAE by breaking into the more open Abu Dhabi market, industry insiders have said. The alcohol market in the UAE is regulated at the emirate level, and each has different levels of access and competition. Dubai’s market is a duopoly. Two distributors – Maritime […]

A Starbucks cafe in Beirut, Lebanon. Jobs are being cut due to 'continually challenging trading conditions' in the Mena region

Kuwait’s Alshaya lays off Mena Starbucks staff

Kuwait’s Alshaya Group, one of the Gulf’s largest franchise owners, is cutting jobs at its Starbucks outlets.   The coffee brand has suffered from calls for a boycott since the start of the Gaza conflict. “As a result of the continually challenging trading conditions over the last six months, we have taken the sad and very […]

Egypt’s food exports to Europe reached 1.4m tonnes in 2022-23

Egyptian food producer plans European expansion

An Egyptian food producer is planning to expand into European markets on the back of a significant rise in US sales. City Farm, a frozen fruits and vegetables processor, intends to open representative offices in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands first. CEO Mahmoud Lamei said the plan followed “remarkable success” in the United States and […]

coffee drinking woman Agthia UAE Egypt Video length: 05:02

Agthia increases stake in Egyptian snack group

Agthia Group has raised its stake in the Egyptian snacks company Auf Group to 70 percent, the latest UAE investment in the North African country. The food and beverages group, which is majority owned by the Abu Dhabi government through the state investor ADQ, acquired a 60 percent stake in Auf Group in 2022.  In […]

Brazil exports many of the foods served at Iftar, the meal eaten after sunset during Ramadan

Brazilian exports to Kuwait rise in readiness for Ramadan

With Ramadan around the corner, trade between Kuwait and Brazil has been brisk – the Latin American country plays an important role in supplying the food needed for Iftar, the fast-breaking evening meal that Muslims enjoy during the holy month. Brazilian exports to the Gulf country spiked in November as Muslim importers began to prepare […]

A cafe in Dubai Mall. Consumers' tastes are changing, according to food producer Agthia Video length: 05:02

Made in UAE: consumers turn to local food brands

UAE consumers are increasingly turning to locally produced products, according to the head of a multi-billion-dirham food and beverage conglomerate.  Consumption patterns in the region are changing rapidly, prioritising healthy lifestyles, time-saving and convenience while maintaining authentic tastes.  “If you can produce something locally, give them good value for money, they are much more open […]

The amount of cheese sent from the UK to the GCC was up by almost half cheese stall market

UK cheese sales buck trend in F&B exports to the GCC

British cheese continues to grow in popularity with regional consumers, but it could not prevent total food and drink exports from the UK to the GCC declining in 2023. Exports were down by almost 7 percent year on year to £816 million ($1 billion). The UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs attributed the […]

Morocco's desalination plants will provide water for OCP Group’s industrial sites and drinking water for the towns of Safi and El Jadida

Morocco gets $188m to build three desalinisation plants

Moroccan fertiliser company OCP Group has secured $188 million worth of funding to build three new seawater desalinisation plants as part of the government’s emergency plan for drinking water supply. The state-backed company signed an agreement with the African Development Bank (AfDB) to fund its green investment programme. The construction of the new desalinisation plants […]

KFC, Pizza Hut and Hardee's at Americana Plaza Mall in Cairo. All three fast food brands experienced a regional drop-off in Q4 2023

UAE diners eat local as global fast food faces boycott

Homegrown restaurants in the UAE are reporting a lift in sales since the start of the Israel-Gaza conflict, as diners opt for local brands over international fast-food outlets. Steve Flawith, founder of UAE-based Yolk Brands that operates the Pickl and BonBird chains, said its sales have increased by 15 to 20 percent since the start […]

Americana announced a dividend of $130m and an additional one-time special dividend of $50m, subject to shareholders' approval

Americana 2023 revenue rises on 300 new store openings

Americana Restaurants, the Middle East and North Africa franchisee of fast-food restaurants KFC and Pizza Hut, said it will remain focused on growth and market penetration after opening a record 300 new stores last year. The new stores pushed revenue at Americana to $2.4 billion in 2023, a gain of 1.5 percent year on year. […]

Narendra Modi, India's PM, was met by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, the president of the UAE, on his arrival in Abu Dhabi

Maharashtra plans food security corridor with UAE

The central Indian state of Maharashtra is working to develop a food security corridor with the UAE. The government of Maharashtra, which has 11 million farmers, has linked up with US fund manager Pegasus Capital Advisors for the food trade project. Under their agreement, the Maharashtra authorities will share an operational plan within three months, […]

Chicken, Animal, Poultry

Tanmiah Food’s 2023 profit falls 59% on pricing pressure

Saudi-listed Tanmiah Food Company’s net profit for 2023 fell 59 percent year on year to SAR75.9 million ($20.24 million) on lower subsidy payout, increasing pricing pressure, and continued expansion of fresh poultry and Popeyes stores. Revenues rose 21 percent to SAR2.09 billion last year, primarily due to increased sales volumes, enhanced geographical coverage and channel […]

A Starbucks coffee shop in Beirut, Lebanon. Alshaya operates 2,000 Starbucks branches in 17 countries

Kuwait’s Alshaya in talks to sell Starbucks stake

Kuwait’s Alshaya Group is in talks to sell a minority stake in its regional Starbucks business that covers the Middle East, North Africa and central Asia, according to reports. The Kuwaiti retailer operates 70 brands in 4,000 stores across 18 countries. This includes the franchise for Starbucks, with 2,000 stores in 17 countries.  US private […]

Neom aquaculture

Neom aquaculture venture seeks fish self-sufficiency

Saudi Arabia’s mega-project Neom has set up a joint aquaculture venture with Tabuk Fisheries Company of Riyadh to meet the kingdom’s goal of producing 600,000 tonnes of fish products annually by 2030. The companies signed a memorandum of understanding in 2021 to set up Topian Aquaculture. The new venture will include a hatchery that is […]