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World: Zenith study finds 50% dairy market growth in gulf since 2007

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Dairy product sales grew by more than 50% between 2007 and 2012 to $5.8 billion in the six Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries, according to a new report from Zenith International.

It states that Saudi Arabia is the biggest dairy market among GCC states, accounting for 74% of volume.

The largest product category is fresh white milk with a 41% volume share, followed by laban on 21%.

In terms of value, cheese is the leading category with a 22% share, closely followed by fresh white milk.

Laban is the fastest growing category, with 9% growth in 2012.

Saudi Arabia leads the way in consumption per person, whereas consumers in Kuwait spend the most on dairy products.

“With many people leading more hectic lifestyles, the demand for packaged food is rising. The consumption of protein rich food, such as dairy, is on the increase. The current market environment offers a substantial investment opportunity for both local companies and multinationals”, says regional research coordinator Harikrishnan Pillai.

Findings in the report include:

  • 80% of dairy sales come from four key product categories – fresh white milk, laban, yogurt and cheese.
  • Growth in 2012 was stronger than in the previous four years – the main drivers being population, urbanization, incomes and health awareness.
  • Saudi Arabia is providing a strong impetus to the market, with its consumers moving towards healthier eating habits.