x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Convenient, but healthy too

Shoppers are shifting towards more convenient and healthier food.

DUBAI // Shoppers around the world are shifting towards more convenient and healthier food, experts say.

"The UAE is moving towards healthier eating, even for convenience food," said Eelco Camminga, the South Africa, Middle East and Pakistan vice president for Unilever, at Gulfood yesterday.

"There is an increasing demand for local and organic food with an emphasis on sustainability. Consumers are more powerful, picky and choosy - they are more aware about where their food is sourced.

"Our world is changing and there are now a lot of out-of-home trends. There is an increasing demand for halal food and a shift to protein-rich diets."

Food-processing units in the UAE are preparing to expand, especially in the halal section, said James McCluskey, the managing director of Al Batha Consumer Group.

With growing urbanisation, the demand for ready-to-eat food is expected to rise, Mr McCluskey said.

Mr Camminga said: "Western-style fast food is on the rise in developing countries."

Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, the Minister of Foreign Trade, said there was a high demand for processed food in Dubai, and the country's restaurant industry was expected to grow by 30 per cent in the next four years.

* Caline Malek