Egypt not so tasty amid unsettled economy

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Cheaper chocolate with a healthy twist could gain traction in Egypt's unstable economy, says analyst
Cheaper chocolate with a healthy twist could gain traction in Egypt's unstable economy, says analyst

Related tags: Economics, Economy, Egypt

Egypt’s confectionery market will slump over the next two years spurred by political and economic unrest, but manufacturers can create appeal with NPD of low-cost, healthier products, according to an industry expert.

A Leatherhead market analysis report on Egypt’s confectionery market has suggested that the implosion of the country’s economy is likely to drive down growth but the report’s author has identified small areas of new product development (NPD) opportunities.

Egypt’s confectionery market was pegged at US $415m in 2011, up 10.7% from 2007, data showed. Within this market, chocolate holds the lion’s share representing 54% of overall value.

Jonathan Thomas, principal market analyst at Leatherhead Food Research and author of the report, said that confectionery consumption in Egypt is likely to decrease by around 8% in 2012.

“I feel growth levels will lag over the next couple of years at least,” ​Thomas told ConfectioneryNews.com.

The economic crisis will adversely impact consumer spending, he said, and with a leading 35% of expenditure in Egypt going on food and drinks, “any downturn in the economy will hit this sector hard – especially for products seen as ‘luxuries’, like chocolate, by large sections of the population.”

In particular, European chocolate imports are set to “suffer a hit” ​due to the expense,​ he detailed, “and it is highly possible this trend may not be reversed until growth is restored to the country’s economy.”

A few tasty opportunities…

Amid Egypt’s economic unrest, “one possible area of opportunity could be the development of lower-cost, affordable chocolate products,”​ Thomas said, as “chocolate remains largely unaffordable for a large percentage of the country’s population.”

Development of cheaper products “may carry added appeal to cash-strapped consumers,” ​he added.

Chocolate also remains a popular form of snack, he said, “especially among younger people,”​ – a sizeable demographic that hold opportunities in driving Egypt’s confectionery sector forward in the long-term.

Over half of the country’s population is under 25, according to Leatherhead data.

There are also opportunities in sugar reduction and the development of healthier confectionery products, Thomas said, “as there appears to be an increasing appetite among Egyptians for healthier sugar-free confectionery.”

Related topics: Markets

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