JLL reveals F&B trends in Saudi Arabia

The firm has identified four things that will shape the Kingdom’s food industry

Riyadh, KSA
Riyadh, KSA

Investment firm JLL has released its findings on the trends set to lead Saudi Arabia’s F&B industry. Four key trends have been predicted to influence the Kingdom this year and beyond.

Emphasis on overall experience
According to JLL’s report, there is set to be an increased focus on experience, expected to shift the market away from fast food and towards ‘fast casual’ formats. Consumers are expected to attach greater weight to experience rather than convenience. With this in mind, JLL expects food halls in malls to become less popular, favouring market places and other dining formats instead.

Healthy and sustainable eating
Consumers in Saudi Arabia are becoming increasingly concerned with health & wellness and this has clear implications for their food choices. Many of the existing fast food chains have responded by introducing healthier menu options while new brands are emerging with a specific focus on health and wellbeing.

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Emergence of more ‘home grown’ brands
As KSA continues to pave the way for its leisure-focused tourism sector, there is likely to be a greater investment in ‘homegrown’ food concepts. These venues will be able to offer a Saudi Arabian dining experience not seen elsewhere in the world, while also using local ingredients.

Delivery and dark kitchens
The home delivery market is expected to reach a value of US365 billion within two years, spurred by current lockdown measures across the world. A consequence of this could be a separation between food preparation and consumption, leading to a spike in ‘dark kitchens’ – kitchens without dining facilities.

“As the population in The Kingdom reached about 34 million by the end of 2019, Saudi now holds the largest domestic F&B market in the GCC. With this and the rapidly changing demographics, including a larger younger population with high disposable income, it also highlights the many opportunities available for developing the F&B industry in Saudi Arabia,” said JLL MENA foodservice consulting lead Alexis Marcoux-Varvatsoulis.

The Saudi Arabian General Authority for Investment (SAGIA) forecasts that spending on foodservice will grow by 6% per annum over the next five years. The Saudi F&B industry accounted for 10% of GDP in 2018 according to the report.

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