- Growing population, rising incomes, evolving dietary patterns and thriving tourism spark demand
Dubai, 17 February 2018 - Middle Eastern consumers are showing a fast-growing appetite for eggs. According to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. egg imports to the MENA (Middle East North Africa) region grew 73 percent in USD value in 2017 over the imports in 2016. This represents a volume growth of 88 percent for U.S. table eggs and 83% for U.S. egg products.
Both consumer and industrial egg consumption has increased as demand has grown in the region. A growing population, rising incomes and evolving dietary patterns are sparking demand, supplemented by a thriving tourism sector.
Within the MENA region, the fastest growing importers of U.S. eggs were Bahrain, which grew 1713 percent in value in 2017 over 2016, Jordan (559 percent), Oman (168 percent), KSA - Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (107 percent), and UAE (65 percent). The growth is especially important even as local egg production in the region is growing and some of these countries are close to self-sufficiency in eggs.
This encouraging year on year growth has prompted the AEB to double its efforts to educate consumers about the health benefits and the exceptional quality of U.S. eggs, which makes them a popular choice at retail, foodservice and in food manufacturing facilities.
Anne L. Alonzo, AEB President & CEO said: “Today’s consumers are showing great interest in where their food comes from, and their modern approach to life drives them towards choosing top quality products from around the world. A larger proportion of consumers prefer whole shell eggs for meal preparation and direct consumption, and U.S. eggs are their top choice. Eggs are highly functional ingredients and their versatility also comes in handy for snack manufacturers, bakers and confectionary producers. We see our task cut out for us, which is creating awareness of their availability, their attributes and advantages versus other imported eggs.”
American eggs are unique in that the U.S. is one of the only countries in the world that refrigerates eggs from initial packing to final consumer. This preserves freshness and quality all along the supply chain which maintains eggs’ functionality.
Other key factors that helped U.S. egg and egg product exports to the Middle East include the expansion of the retail sector with new super and hypermarkets opening each year and the growing presence of expatriates who opt for imported products. In addition, the region has embraced the concept of all day breakfast-serving restaurants, and eggs constitute major components of breakfast meals included in waffles, pancakes, omelets, French toast, crepes and all kinds of sandwiches and entrees. This trend has room to grow further with more dining outlets expected to open in the region. In the area of logistics that are geared up for egg transport and storage, UAE is at the forefront of adopting new technologies with automated warehouses aided by robotics. It is also conducting experiments with autonomous vehicles and drone deliveries for efficient and faster last mile deliveries.