Middle East & South Asian Market Opportunities For Russian Meat Exporters

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Russian meat exporters can access the Middle East and South Asian Muslim markets by adopting Halal practices for these markets – Halal meat producers already represent 10% of the Russian total with producers looking at export markets in the Middle East & South Asia

According to Andrei Kucherov, the head of strategic communications and product promotion at Russia’s Agroexport Center, Russian exports of halal products to Persian Gulf countries and Egypt could grow by more than six times by 2030 compared to the 2020 figure, “Russian exports of halal products to Persian Gulf countries, as well as Egypt, reached US$116 million in 2020. Confectionary products made up the main share, 59%, and meat products accounted for 40%. It is expected that the amount of Russian exports of halal products to these countries will exceed US$700 million in 2030, in other words grow by more than six times.”

He said meat products have particular potential. “The meat industry in Russia is actively developing. About 20 million Muslims live in Russia, which creates domestic demand for halal meat. Halal meat production in Russia is now 10% of Russia’s total production of poultry meat, beef and sheep meat.”

The key markets for Russian halal exports are Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, centering on Dubai. Saudi Arabia imports over US$1.2 billion worth of meat products, US$670 million of dairy products and more than US$1.1 billion in confectionary products, while the UAE imports over US$800 million of meat products and more than US$300 million of dairy products, Kucherov said.

“In order to realize the export potential of Russian halal products, Agroexport initiated the development of a strategy for its promotion on markets in the Middle East and North Africa. We concluded that there’s no point in promoting Russian halal products as halal in this region. The consumer there already believes all products are halal,” Kucherov said.

“Therefore, promotion should be built on a system of national certification and the image of this system. The instruments needed for the certification system to work well are traceability and the existence of certification bodies inside the country,” he said.

Promotion of halal products could get an additional push from the creation of a national umbrella brand, he said. Consumers in Saudi Arabia, for example, know little about Russian products and do not have an image of Russia as a food producer, he said.

“In this situation, launching a national umbrella brand could help raise awareness and establish a firm positive image of Russian food among Saudi consumers,” Kucherov said.

The Middle East and North Africa market for halal food products totals US$441 billion per year, the center said in its presentation. Global demand for such products is estimated at US$1.3 trillion-US$1.4 trillion per year, and it could grow to US$1.7 trillion-US$2 trillion by 2025.

Demand for halal products is not only growing in Muslim Middle Eastern based countries, but also in China, and other markets in Asia such as India, Indonesia, Malaysia the Philippines and Thailand, as halal is seen as a sign of quality and safety in addition to regional religious consumer practices.

Dezan Shira & Associates can assist Russian halal exporters enter markets in Asia. The practice advises Russian businesses throughout Asia and the Middle East and has offices throughout the region. Please contact Maria Kotova at asia@dezshira.com for assistance.

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Middle East Briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. We provide foreign investment market intelligence about doing business in the region as well as provide updates on investments into Asia for Middle eastern based international companies from our offices in Dubai. Our firm was established in 1992 and has 28 offices and several hundred research, legal, tax and compliance professionals in our offices through the Asian region.

For assistance with establishing business in the Middle East, or for assistance in analyzing and entering markets elsewhere in Asia, please contact us at dubai@dezshira.com or visit us at www.dezshira.com.

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