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Sweets and snacks in the MENA region

1 Sep 2021

Lu Ann Williams, Global Insights Director Innova Market Insights

Lu Ann Williams, Global Insights Director Innova Market Insights

The Middle East & Northern Africa (MENA) region is an attractive sales market for manufacturers of sweets and snacks with further potential for growth. With yummex Middle East, which is modelled on ISM, Koelnmesse offers a central platform for producers and manufacturers in the confectionery and snacks industry to present their products and innovations to the who's who of the MENA region. Lu Ann Williams, Global Insights Director at Innova Market Insights explains in an interview with ISM and Yummex ME how much opportunities the MENA region offers for sweets and snacks manufactures.

The sweets & snacks markets in the MENA region are amongst the fastest growing markets of the industry. What are the current and the expected CAGR figures in the MENA region?

Sweets and snacks is the most active segment taking a 16.4% share of the regional total in 2020. The category shows an average annual growth of +11% over the past five years (MENA, CAGR 2016-2020), growing twice as fast as the total F&B launches tracked in region over the same period.

Can you give us an overview on the emerging future developments in these specific markets?

Sweets & snacks manufacturers are challenged to launch products aligning specific diet or lifestyle needs, such as vegan, reduced sugar and high protein. The market for plant-based sweets and snacks is growing and creates opportunities, since plant-based is currently the fastest growing claim within the global sweets and snacks market (+80% CAGR 2016-2020). Given the rapid global growth of these claims, it is expected that this will spill over the MENA region as well. Other growing health claims are for example ‘prebiotic’ and ‘anti-aging’ with an average annual growth of +40% and +38% respectively (Global, CAGR 2016-2020). A regional response to these trends is emerging, ever since we tracked the first plant-based snack introduction for the MENA region in 2019.

Which top trends are and will be shaping the sweets & snack markets in the MENA region currently and in the future?

Within the sweets and snacks category in MENA, vegetable based snacks is an emerging category with an average annual growth of +73% (MENA, CAGR 2016-2020), while being still a niche market with a share of 0.4% in 2020. Also licorice and toffee & fudge are fast growing small categories with average annual growth rates of +32% and +27% respectively (MENA, CAGR 2016-2020).

Emerging claims within the sweets and snacks market in MENA are mainly related to health or specific lifestyles. An example of such a health related claim is immune health, where an average annual growth is observed of +73% (MENA, CAGR 2016-2020). Growth was also observed in the claim high/source of fiber with an average annual growth of +25% (MENA, CAGR 2016-2020). Both claims are showing that consumers demand their sweets and snacks to be fitted within their specific needs.

What could be a formula of success producers of sweets & snacks should follow to be successful in the MENA region in general and with regards to the outlined trends?

A global trend within Food & Beverages is launching hybrid products, which broadens the dimensions of indulgence. Brands collaborate to bring hybrids and create new sensory experiences. In the MENA region there is an average annual growth of +21% of products with a co-branding claim (MENA, CAGR 2016-2020). 39% of these co-branding product launches in 2020 contained Oreo-flavor, such as an Oreo flavored candy. Producers of sweets & snacks should further explore brand collaborations to bring new exciting hybrid products to the MENA market.