Due to the Saudi government’s recent investments in health awareness and advances in technology, the testing for food allergies especially in babies has substantially benefitted value sales growth of free from. Consumers are aware of food allergy tests and the importance of early diagnosis mainly due to research via the internet.
Baby food products continued to characterise the free from category in Saudi Arabia in 2018, with availability and awareness of other product types remaining low. This was a reflection of the improvement in diagnosis of allergies in babies in recent years thanks to investment in the local healthcare system.
With free from being recognised as a unique niche category, with the exception of baby food it was solely populated by international players with no presence of local manufacturers in 2018. Therefore, prices of free from products remained high, not only due to a new rise in customs and import costs, but also because retailers had no real incentive to offer discounts as such products are a necessity rather than a discretionary purchase for their niche customer base.
In 2018, RONESCA held the leading positon in free from as the company increased its offering of a wide range of special baby milk formula that includes free from lactose and HA products, which continued to be strong leaders in satisfying the rising demand for free from milk formula. Sales increased thanks to advancement in allergy testing and screening for babies in cooperation with local chemists/pharmacies.
International players, some operating via local distributors, continued to characterise free from packaged food in 2018, due to an ongoing lack of local manufacturers. This is expected to be due to international free from milk formula brands having strong reputations for quality and innovation, while frequently being recommended by paediatricians, hence benefitting from high levels of consumer trust and loyalty.
In 2018, one key factor that continued to serve as an entry barrier to local manufacturers in free from packaged food is higher production costs. This barrier has recently become more challenging given the recent rise in customs and fees and increase in water and energy costs.
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Overview: Discover the latest market trends and uncover sources of future market growth for the Food Intolerance industry in Saudi Arabia with research from Euromonitor's team of in-country analysts.
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