gulfood manufacturing fish and seafood

Fish and seafood

Here's what’s trending in the fish and seafood industry:


Chilled Processed Seafood 

  • Chilled processed seafood remains an underdeveloped category in the Middle East and Africa, whose sales accounted for less than 1% of world value sales in 2017.
  • However, the Middle East and Africa recorded a slightly stronger performance than the global average, with a 0% CAGR between 2012 and 2017 in value sales, compared to a 1% decline globally.
  • South Africa is the largest market, generating 35% of the region’s sales in 2017, followed by Saudi Arabia with 12%.
  • Sales growth in South Africa was driven by consumers increasingly turning to processed meat and seafood instead of compared to fresh meat and seafood due to their lower unit prices, as the pressure on rising food prices increased as a result of a rise in the price of raw materials which are largely imported and made more expensive by the volatile local currency.
  • With a 48% share in 2017, private label strongly dominate the competitive environment in South Africa.
  • Chilled processed seafood, especially smoked salmon, in the United Arab Emirates is a niche category with mostly Western expatriates consuming it. Growth is mostly from other nationalities trying out chilled processed seafood in addition to their traditional dishes. 
food processing

Frozen Processed Seafood

  • Frozen processed seafood value sales in the Middle East and Africa records double digit growth annually with a 20% CAGR between 2012 and 2017, largely outpacing the world’s average, standing at a 4% CAGR.
  • Egypt is by far the largest market, generating 43% of the region’s value sales in 2017, followed by Morocco, accounting for 15%.
  • The string growth recorded in Egypt was largely driven by these products offering convenience, and appealing to working women, as a growing number of women entered the workforce.
  • In Egypt, Badr Food Industries strongly dominate the category, which remains fragmented, with the presence of numerous small companies operating in coastal cities.
  • In UAE, growth of frozen processed seafood is brought about by popularity of fish fingers. Fish fingers are a common dish amongst Western expatriates as they are known from back in their home country.
food processing

Shelf Stable Seafood

  • Shelf stable seafood value sales in the Middle East and Africa records a stronger growth that the global average, with a 13% CAGR between 2012 and 2017, outperformed global sales, which rose by a 4% CAGR.
  • Iran, the largest market, generated 40% of the region’s value sales in 2017, while the second largest market, South Africa, accounted for 9%.
  • In Iran, greater availability coupled with marketing activities such as sampling sessions inside stores and a focus on advertising campaigns on national television and radio have increased awareness of these products amongst consumers and boosted sales.
  • In the United Arab Emirates, shelf-stable seafood is often bought by consumers for single-person meals or it is used as an ingredient to create other dishes. 

*Euromonitor International  

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