In the UAE, the retail shelf space dedicated to organic food has increased by 60 per cent over the last four years, according to research from Mintel.
Demand for organic food has equally risen in the wider Gulf region, with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait all seeing impressive growth.
However, according to the Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), only 2 per cent of food and drink launches in the UAE were positioned as organic in the year to October 2017.
Products were instead more likely to focus on natural and free-from claims, with ‘no additives or preservatives’ featuring on 16 per cent of product launches.
The increase in demand for such products is partly a result of the decision by the UAE’s ministry of climate change and environment last May to issue an advisory banning imports of certain fruit and vegetables from various countries.
Those countries included Egypt, Oman, Lebanon and Yemen, sources found to contain pesticide residues exceeding permissible limits.
According to Mintel, the move is expected to encourage local food and drink producers to develop new organic lines, while opening the door to more imported organic brands.