While the standard of living in the United Arab Emirates is one of the highest in the world and many Emiratis and high-skilled expats enjoy luxurious lifestyles, in recent years the slowing economy has negatively affected consumer confidence and, in turn, consumer spending. Average spending per household fell over much of the review period to 2016.
The alarming obesity rate in the country prompted the government to take action, such as implementing front-of-pack labelling for packaged foods and a 20% reduction in the sugar content of food products. This initiative is part of the Abu Dhabi Department of Health’s programme to combat childhood obesity.
The health and wellness market remains highly fragmented featuring both local players and renowned international competitors, many of which have launched health and wellness variants of their original brands. Strategic moves such as these are a response to consumer demand for reduced sugar and reduced fat variants, as consumers endeavour to live healthier lifestyles and the government tries to tackle the high obesity rate in the country.
Modern grocery retailers remained the main distribution channel for health and wellness products in the United Arab Emirates. This channel offers an ever-widening range of products in a variety of sizes, flavours and packaging formats.
Given the great income inequality in the country and a widening gap between the rich and poor, with the latter comprised of large numbers of low-income migrant workers most of whom are employed in the informal sector and who earn very low wages, many of the country’s inhabitants will remain highly price-sensitive. As such, they are likely to drive demand for value-based health and wellness products.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Health and Wellness market research database.