3 Going local

The growth in traditional Arabic cheeses is rivalled by a demand for international cheeses and other dairy products, driven by the diversification of the region’s outlets.

However, the combination of increased local demand and high import costs is putting pressure on local dairy producers to innovate.

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“Over the past five years, local sourcing has become a popular alternative to importing,” explains Breen. “For dairy products specifically, it reduces the eco footprint of moving a product from one country to another and, naturally, also reduces the associated costs.”

There is definitely a growing need for local dairy producers to diversify their product ranges into authentic international ingredients and reduce the cost pressure on the region’s supply chain.

This trend has not gone unnoticed by the group of Italian investors behind Italian Dairy Products, a producer of mozzarella, ricotta scamorza and burrata from locally sourced milk. “There is growing preference for locally made food products,” explains general manager Maria Luisa Panzica La Manna.

She adds: “I think this is a global, consumer-driven trend for freshness, quality and natural ingredients free from additives and conservatives.

“Our products have a great advantage over dairy products imported from the EU: we offer freshness.

“And yes, I accept that international logistics are becoming faster and easier, but anything that needs long distance transportation can never be as fresh as what is produced locally.”

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