JAFZA seeks to make halal food the cornerstone of F&B logistics
The food and beverages sector operating out of Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA) grew by 12 per cent in 2017, with DP World officials aiming to make Halal foods the focus of future growth.
“The vision of our leadership to establish Dubai as the global Islamic economic capital provides a major boost to our economy by attracting foreign investment, especially those that are Halal food related,” said Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, group chairman and CEO, DP World.
“JAFZA is building on its track record as the region’s hub for this key sector of the economy,” he added. “The growth reflects our continued focus on developing this industry and attracting more F&B manufacturing businesses to establish themselves here.”
The number of companies in the sector rose to 570 from 507 in 2016, employing 8,600 people.
The freezone is home to F&B businesses from 75 countries that are reaching out to a market of more than 2.5 billion consumers in the Middle East, Africa, South and East Asia and the CIS states.
They include international brands such as AGC, Unilever, Mars, Food Specialities Limited (FSL), Gulf Food Industries, Hunter Foods, among others.
Of the F&B companies based in JAFZA, 37 percent are from the Middle East region; 24 percent from Asia-Pacific; 19 percent from Europe; 10 percent from the Americas and 10 percent from Africa.
The importance of JAFZA as a preferred location is reinforced by high occupancy rates in facilities, ranging from plots of land and warehouses to showrooms and offices dedicated to the F&B industry, spread over 1.85 million square metres, DP World said in a release.
A recent Business Monitor International (BMI) research report expects food sales in the Middle East and North Africa to increase by 6.3 percent on an annual basis between 2015 and 2020.
The food and beverage industry will see a 7.1 percent growth annually until 2020, owing to several factors such as the strong investment in the retail sector in the next few years and the rise in tourists and the expatriate population.