SAUDI ARABIA - The Saudi Arabian beef market grew by 9.2 per cent at a compound annual growth rate between 2008-2013 to around 150,000 tonnes, according to Michael Hussey from the Dubai Office of Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board.
Imports of beef accounted for 73 per cent of consumption.
Total sheep meat consumption was 138,000 tonnes last year and grew by 3.7 per cent at a compound annual growth rate in the previous five years.
The growth in consumption is being driven by economic growth, increasing population, the development of modern grocery retail and the growth of “western tastes” as the population travels abroad more often.
Mr Hussey said that the beef distribution chain is changing.
Organised retail accounts for 53 per cent of volume with Horeca making up 25 per cent.
A total of 18 per cent is sold through neighbourhood butchers with the rest coming from private farm sales.
With the absence of Brazilian beef, Pakistani and Indian beef dominate and are usually sold as a block of meat at cheaper prices rather than as specific cuts.
At the more premium end of the market, Australian beef sets the benchmark in terms of quality and price.
In all, 85,000 tonnes of frozen beef was imported last year.
Indian beef dominates with almost 70 per cent market share followed by Australia at 23 per cent.
In total, 21,500 tonnes of chilled beef were imported in 2013.
Pakistan had almost 40 per cent share, followed by Australia ,at 31 per cent, and New Zealand, at almost 21 per cent.
With the growth of modern hypermarkets and supermarkets, the chilled market is growing at a stronger rate than frozen.
This according to Mr Hussey offers opportunities for Irish producers of Halal beef.TheMeatSite News Desk