Savvy confectioners should aim for Eastern expansion, report

By Catherine Boal

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags United arab emirates

UK confectioners are well-placed to take advantage of the
potentially lucrative food market springing up in the Gulf States,
according to a new report.

Research undertaken by the Food From Britain (FFB) organisation indicates that frequently-overlooked far flung markets could boost business for sweet-makers. Figures from the group show a 4.3 per cent increase in UK food and drink exports to the Gulf States last year - amounting to £300 million (€441.4m) and comprising mostly of premium biscuits, chocolate confectionery, breakfast cereals, luxury items and dairy products. Confectionery exports to the region are worth over £12 million (€17.6m) and chocolate products, in particular, have enjoyed substantial gains with 31 per cent growth to £5.6m (€8.2m). A surge in the expat population in the area has spurred growth and the region's market is set to expand further thanks to its popularity as a tourist destination. There are currently around 650,000 British visitors to Dubai annually and more than 115,000 ex-pats living in the United Arab Emirates. FFB's development markets manager Emma Walters said: "There's no doubt that there are opportunities for British companies to export to the Gulf States. The trick is recognising the opportunities and also the best way to go about introducing your products to market." ​Confectioners interested in the area will be attending industry trade fair Sweets Middle East, held in Dubai in November. Last year, 3 per cent of all British food and drink exports went to the Gulf States and 80 per cent of food sold in retailers across the region is imported

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