Over the last few years Russia has been enhancing its business presence in the GCC market. For instance, the Russian Food House was opened in Dubai in 2019. It serves as a leverage for promoting Russian food products in the UAE, GCC and MENA region.
The Russian Food House is a demonstration and tasting pavilion where exporters can exhibit their samples, while pavilion visitors, including big retailers, distributing and HoReCa companies interested in wholesale trade, can learn more about Russian products.
The exhibitors are to comply with the highest quality requirements. The range comprises groceries, confectionery, cereals, dairy and many other categories. Among the most popular ones are Russian poultry and meat, which are increasingly in demand in the GCC region.
The Russian Federation has been scaling up its meat and poultry export with more than 65 countries being supplied with its meat now. In 2021 Russian meat export grew by 30 percent. GCC region has become one of the most significant importers: regional import has rocketed up to 113 million US dollars in 2021, which is more than twice higher compared to 2020, when it stood at 47 million US dollars. For instance, Saudi Arabia is in the second place with its beef import rate having grown by 41 percent up to 21 million US dollars.
The demand growth is due to several reasons, in particular, due to the rise in prices of meat all across the world, which made Russian products more competitive in those markets. Another factor is the high quality of products, which is appreciated and valued by local customers and consumers.
Nevertheless, accessing the GCC market is not always easy due to high standards as regards food and meat in particular. This is a challenge that Russian companies have learned to overcome by adapting their production and business processes and obtaining necessary certification.
Though one might not think of Russia as a producer of halal food, with 12-15 million Muslims living in Russia, there is in fact a considerable demand for such products. In the last three years the country ramped up its halal export to GCC by almost two times and reached 180 million US dollars with poultry accounting for 96 million and beef – for 26 million US dollars. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have become major importers of Russian halal food.
Several meat and poultry producers have launched production under labels in compliance with halal standards. A large Russian meat producer and exporter Miratorg has participated in Gulfood and gained a favorable image with local buyers. Now the company is on its way to strike new deals and plans to expand presence in the region.