Fruit & Vegetable Processing

There are two major types of operation in the product category mainly canning and freezing.

Canned goods account for about 50% of the category revenue globally. Major Products manufactured locally are potato chips, corn chips, tortilla chips and bulk nuts (canned nuts)

Majority of the processed food made from imported ingredients. Local producers of snack foods concentrate on high volume items, notably potato chips and extruded snack corn curls)

Tomatoes and cucumbers are the only produce which is locally grown and processed, the rest are imported.

  • Market is divided into 4 main categories ( based on the products manufactured by National Industries):
    • Snack Food
    • Preserving Of Vegetables
    • Pastes ( tomato)
    • Dates based products ( syrup, paste, packaged dates)

Dubai faces competition from foreign players. The availability of quality chipping potatoes in countries like Saudi has allowed the companies there to manufacture at a much lower cost compared to the companies in Dubai. Lays (produced by Saudi Snack Foods Co.) is giving stiff competition to the local brands such as Pofaki, Mr. Krisps etc.

The Total Market Size of the snacks segment is approximately 12,200 to 12,500 tons with an annual growth rate of 5-6%. Export sales have shown a healthy trend growing at double digits over the last few years.

The demand for snack foods is driven by the growing population led by children and youth. Consumers are however moving towards baked/roasted items from fried products.

Dubai being a transhipment hub provides lots of opportunities in the vegetable processing segmen. There are several companies engaged in cleaning, peeling and freezing in addition to canning vegetables prior to its export. Large players like California Garden, Al Ain Vegetables, Al Islami etc covert large imports of fresh fruits and vegetables into frozen mixed vegetables.

UAE produces more than 800,000 MT of dates per annum (2006) and it is the fourth largest producer after Egypt, Iran and KSA. Majority of dates are exported as unprocessed dates or sold in the wholesale/retail market as unbranded products. Local processing is limited to chocolates. The UAE is a large trading hub for dry fruits and nuts.


  • Potential to look at value added date products, tomato pastes and jams and marmalades to the HRI segment.
  • Indigenous products like Dates are readily available. Date festivals are held in the western region of the Emirate. Although Dubai itself doesn’t produce significant quantity of Dates, the remainder of UAE is known for its quality produce.
  • Potential of creating “Dubai Based Brands” based on indigenous products like Dates.
  • Consumer preferences are shifting towards healthier products and also snacks with healthier ingredigents like low sodium.
  • Increasing demand for convenience foods
  • Green packaging, demand for gourmet items and portion controlled foods.

Market Players

  • Total number of companies registered with DCCI for fruits and vegetables processing are 20; these manufacture tomato paste, jam and potato chips. Out of these, 4 located in JAFZA.
  • Major fruit and vegetable processing companies are located in JAFZA ( Hunter Foods ltd., Gulf Food Industries, Gulf Processing Industries, and Amize Food Industries) Other are Al Quoz ( National Food Industries, Crown Food Industry and Hassani Food Industry) and in Al Ramoul Industrial Area ( Best Foods, Saigol and Gulf Ltd. Co)
  • Seven snack processing plants in the UAE produce 8,500 tons of food yearly; Fresh Potato imported from nearby countries is the important raw material. Lays (prod. By Saudi Snack Foods Co. But a brand of PepsiCo. ) gives stiff competition to the local brands such as Pofaki, Mr Krisps, etc.
  • In the tomato paste category, Safa ( Dubai brand) faces high competition from DelMonte ( US brand)
  • Date Processing Industry is dominated by 7 players and faces competition from neighbouring countries.

Best Practice: Hunter Foods, known For its Innovative products (gourmet snacks- Potato chips, ice lollies, Fried Onions, lentil pappad and corn pappad) and private label manufacturing partnered with companies to manufacture private labels-Armani Cafe, Cozy cafe. One of the first companies in MENA to get the SQF2000.

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