The 5% Value Added Tax (VAT) imposed on most products and services in the United Arab Emirates in 2018 negatively influenced packaged food consumption in the country. Consumers who were used to tax-free living adjusted to increasing costs, including of packaged food.
Packaged food recorded a slightly lower growth rate in 2018 than the average of the review period as a whole. The review period witnessed a revival of the economy after the global recession which severely affected the market in 2009.
The leading companies within packaged food were able to retain their shares in 2018. The top three companies, Nestlé Middle East, Almarai Co and Mars, benefited from their strong positions in many of the categories in which they participated.
Hypermarkets and supermarkets remained the leading distribution channels for packaged food in the United Arab Emirates in 2018. Retailers operating in these distribution channels expanded their branches during the year with plans to add additional outlets over the forecast period.
As VAT becomes more incorporated into the daily transactions of residents of the United Arab Emirates, the shock of the higher costs will eventually subside and become part of everyday life. With the government pushing towards strengthening the non-oil economy, the packaged food market is expected to benefit from improved shipping, tourism and local manufacturing.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Packaged Food market research database.