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UAE demand soars for European dairy products

French Dairy Board says European cream exports to the UAE increased to more than 8,700 tonnes

The UAE’s imports of European cream increased to 8,702 tonnes in 2018 with France exporting 3,533 tonnes alone, according to the latest research from CNIEL, the French Dairy Board.

The value of French cream exported to the UAE in 2018 was valued at over AED36 million, an increase of 18 percent on 2017 and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.3 percent since 2010.

Marie-Laure Martin, international project manager from CNIEL, said: “The UAE and France enjoy a strong bond thanks to business and cultural links. French food exports, particularly cream, has helped further endorse the relationship between both countries as it grows in popularity from both a commercial perspective, through the increasing number of hotels ahead of Expo 2020, and from residents who are using the finest produce when baking or cooking meals at home.”

In addition to the UAE, several other countries in the Middle East have seen the popularity of European dairy exports increase in the last decade, she added.

Saudi Arabia imported 12,921 tonnes of EU cream, totalling over AED147 million while Kuwait and Lebanon have seen this value of EU cream imports in 2018 increase to AED28.8 million and AED43.8 respectively.

The value of European cheese imported by the UAE also increased during the same period by 8.5 percent to AED383 million with 18,311 tonnes imported, among which 3,081 tonnes of French cheese.

Saudi Arabia imported AED534 million of European cheese last year, a 8.2 percent CAGR since 2010 while Kuwait and Lebanon imported AED373.8 million and AED108.8 respectively.

“In terms of French cheese, many people know Camembert, Roquefort and Brie however we want everyone to become familiar with the likes of Morbier, Fourme d’ambert as well as Tomme de Savoie, and Comté,” said Martin.

European butter imports in 2018 by the UAE totaled 4,294 tonnes with a total value of over AED95.7 million, denoting a CAGR of 13.1 percent since 2010.

Butter exports have also proven popular in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Kuwait, with the countries witnessing a CAGR of 21.1 percent, 5.8 percent and 10.3 percent respectively from 2010.

The French Dairy Board was recently in Dubai where it invited six of the leading women in the pastry world from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and France from some of Dubai’s leading hotels and bakeries to discuss the merits of French cream.


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