Health food sales spike in UAE during pandemic

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Online food and beverage sales increased by 255 percent in the UAE

UAE retailers saw a big rise in organic and fresh foods consumption during 2020, as shoppers sought to eat healthily during the pandemic.

Overall sales of healthy food reached Dh1.8bn ($490m) last year – an increase of 4.9 percent – consistent with a report presented by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry on the sidelines of the Gulfood trade show .

Organic produce proved particularly popular, with sales of packaged food increasing by 8.7 percent to Dhs125m ($34m).

Dr Nizami Imamverdiyev, from the economic research department, said organic dairy products were up by 17 percent, and organic meat and seafood sales increased by 10 percent.

Demand from those with food intolerances also increased, with consumers adding around 10 percent more products free from dairy and gluten to their shopping baskets.

Purchases of naturally healthy food spiked by nearly 8 percent, with fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, honey and vegetable oil showing notable growth.

Sales of fruit crush shot up by nearly a 3rd compared to last year, as compared carbonated soft drinks sales remained flat.

The Mediterranean diet, often lauded by nutritionists as immunity boosting, could be prompting vegetable oil sales while honey is hailed as an honest source of antioxidants, and boasts antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.

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