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UAE residents adopt healthier eating due to chronic diseases

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Residents of the UAE and GCC are increasingly choosing healthier lifestyles by making informed dietary decisions.

This shift towards balanced meals and the growing demand for organic food are largely due to the rise in chronic and lifestyle-related illnesses, such as diabetes and hypertension, which are significant health concerns in the region.

Consequently, restaurants are expanding their menus to include more healthy options.

"Regional governments have begun promoting the health benefits of unprocessed foods and have implemented various strategies to encourage healthy living.

This initiative has not only heightened the demand for organic food but has also pushed restaurants and food service providers to focus on healthy food options across the region," states the GCC Food Report by UAE-based investment banking advisory firm Alpen Capital.

The report indicates that food consumption in the GCC is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.8 percent, reaching 56.2 million metric tons by 2027, up from an estimated 49 million MT in 2022.

In the UAE, food consumption is expected to increase by 3.3 percent, rising from an estimated 8.8 million metric tons (MT) in 2022 to 10.4 million MT in 2027.

This growth is driven by an increasing population and the number of tourists.

"The vegetable food category is projected to experience the highest annual growth rate, while meat consumption in the GCC is likely to see minimal gains as consumers become more health-conscious amidst the rising incidence of noncommunicable diseases and the growing demand for fresh produce and pesticide-free food with high nutritional value."

According to the International Diabetes Federation, the number of people with diabetes in the UAE is expected to rise to 1.32 million by 2045, up from 0.99 million in 2021.

Additionally, 30 percent of the population suffers from high blood pressure or hypertension. Both conditions can be prevented and managed by avoiding junk food, consuming a healthy diet, and exercising regularly.

Rohit Walia, executive chairman and CEO of Alpen Capital, noted that the GCC region is seeing a growing demand for nutritious and organic food due to increased awareness of healthy eating habits, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Consequently, several food manufacturers and service providers are investing in expanding their healthy and organic food segments.

Kenneth D’Costa, managing director of Barakat Group of Companies, said the shift in consumer preferences towards fresh, healthy, local, organic, and environmentally responsible products and brands is here to stay.

“As a local business established in the UAE, we are capitalizing on this shift by continuously innovating to nourish our consumers and help them become healthier versions of themselves through the best fresh produce,” said D’Costa.

Anantharaman Ramanathan, group director of finance at Iffco Group, emphasized the rising awareness of health and sustainability among consumers, which is reshaping their preferences and driving the industry towards healthier and more sustainable options.

“There is a growing interest in plant-based and alternative protein products to cater to health-conscious consumers.

Sustainable packaging solutions are gaining popularity, and there is a stronger focus on locally sourced and organic produce,” said Ramanathan.

Agreeing with his industry peers, Fethi Khiari, CEO of United Foods Company, noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought UAE and Gulf residents closer to healthier and locally sourced products.

“Wellbeing has become a priority, leading to increased demand for organic and fresh items,” he said, adding that plant-based foods are on the rise due to concerns about health and the environment.

 

Source: msn

The opinions shared in the GymNation blog articles are solely those of the respective authors and may not represent the perspectives of GymNation or any member of the GymNation team.