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The last decade has witnessed trend cycles speeding at an unprecedented rate. Even a traditionally slower moving industry like F&B is also being transformed. The region of Africa and MENA was also slower on the uptake of global trends, but that’s all changing. Social media, access to global ideas, and younger generations that are thinking differently are directly affecting consumer behavior, and very quickly. However, there are some clear trends that aren’t going away soon, and we think these are the ones that will shape the scene in 2023.
Research shows that African consumers value local products. Around 70% of respondents said they were willing to pay more for local high-quality products that are well-packaged than for imported goods. They stated that freshness and taste were important deciding factors when they made purchasing decisions.
While low-calorie and low-fat options have been around since the 70s and 80s, today’s consumer is looking for more nutritious options and more functional foods. In 2022, there was significant growth in the health and wellness market in the region, which has a projected market size that would exceed 36 billion U.S. dollars by 2025. Functional foods and high-protein, low-GI, gluten-free options are all in demand. Consumers are taking a more holistic look at their diets and are making sure they incorporate as many nutritious elements as they can.
There has been a noticeable increase in food-related disease diagnoses, such as food allergies, coeliac disease and lactose intolerance. The affected population is actively seeking alternatives and “free-from” options that they can trust. There are also other consumers who choose to avoid certain ingredients like gluten or dairy without being diagnosed with a disease. That is why growing consumers’ health concerns are expected to drive the market for clean label ingredients, as it is estimated that the Middle East and Africa Clean Label Ingredients Market will reach USD 2.97 billion by 2026 at a CAGR of 6.19%. This is definitely not a phase or fad, it is a clear and strong direction. Furthermore, clear labeling on products has become a necessity nowadays as it helps consumers clearly identify the available “free-from” options as well as the selection of natural ingredients used to support the demand for better nutritional values. All catering to the escalating consumers’ dietary restrictions in the coming years.
SUSTAINABILITY AND PLANT-BASED OPTIONS
Market research firm, Triton, reported in 2021 that the plant-based food and beverage market in the Middle East and Africa will develop with a CAGR of 8.35% in the years from 2021 to 2028. Many regional consumers are more aware of the environmental impact of the agriculture and livestock industries, while others are adding more plant-based alternatives to their diets for health reasons, meaning that the market will continue to grow rapidly in the future. Interesting ingredients like tiger nuts, legumes, fungi and types of seaweed are all being introduced as alternative sources of proteins and incorporating them in your products can help differentiate your product while also attracting this new growing market segment. Read more on developments in plant-based protein through our Euromonitor report available here
In the last few years, we witnessed instability globally and regionally, from the pandemic to the unrest in Ukraine, the rising dollar to unprecedented global inflation. This has led to disruptions in the global supply chain and has changed prices in raw materials and labor costs. Producers will need to account for these changes and to take into consideration that many households might be forced to monitor and control spending in 2023. Offering different sizes or more affordable bulk options might all be different ways to combat the change in consumer behavior.