UAE and Saudi Arabia top Middle East chocolate importers

Saudi Arabia imported about 250 tons of Swiss chocolate in 2014, with an increase of 8.2 percent from the previous year

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Arab region and Gulf in particular is known for its passion for sweets, as the value of this sector has amounted to $10 billion, with growth of 12% annually, which is the highest in the world.

Moreover, the size of the chocolate market in the region is increasing continuously, where Saudi Arabia imported about 250 tons of Swiss chocolate in 2014, with an increase of 8.2 percent from the previous year, to occupy the second place in the Middle East and the Arab world after the UAE, knowing that the consumption of normal and expensive chocolate increases during “Eid” days to exceed 55 million riyals.

The General Regional Consultative at Euromonitor International, Iyad Hijjawi, said that 25% of sales have been achieved at the GCC market, with one billion dollars in Saudi Arabia, followed by the UAE market for $440 million.

And according to Euromonitor Company, the individual spending on chocolate is the highest in UK at $146 annually, followed by Canada for $69, $57 in America, and $41 in Saudi Arabia. The lowest at all was in Egypt for $4.5 and Morocco for $3.4, and finally India for $1.5.

While Auras Fiore, director of the Choco Swiss Foundation, which is consortium of 18 producer of Swiss chocolate, said that Saudi Arabia has imported 1,167,644 kilograms of chocolate, equivalent to 0.94 % of Swiss chocolate exports volume, to occupy the 22nd place among the world’s largest importers of chocolate (152 countries), and the second among the Arab countries and the Middle East.

For its part, the Saudi capital, Riyadh, is preparing to launch the second session of the International Exhibition of coffee and chocolate, next Thursday, which is the largest exhibition for the industry in Saudi Arabia, posing the most significant developments and new technologies taking place in the sectors of coffee and chocolate, especially that references and economic research confirms that there are more than 20 chocolate factories Saudi Arabia, currently producing about 30 tons of products per year, which match the finest and most prestigious European chocolate products causing tangible and significant difference to the reality and the location of Saudi Arabia industry on the map of luxurious and advanced production in the world.

This article first appeared in the Saudi Gazette on Nov. 24, 2015.