June 15, 2024



The food innovation and distribution cluster at the free zone is a catalyst for the exponential growth of F&B businesses in the UAE and the Middle East.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 13 February 2022: Jebel Ali Free Zone’s (Jafza) F&B cluster plays an integral role in the UAE’s aspirations to achieve global competitiveness. Generating an estimated 20 per cent of Dubai’s total F&B trade, Jafza’s F&B cluster offers a plethora of lucrative incentives, such as customs, no corporate tax and VAT exemptions, all of which drive its continued growth plans.

By deploying and embracing the latest trends in food manufacturing and distribution, the free zone drives local food production in the country, contributing to realising the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy 2051 targets.

Ahmad Al Haddad, Chief Operating Officer, Parks and Zones, DP World UAE said, “The F&B industry is rapidly evolving as a result of new industry trends and technological advancements. As a global food logistics and manufacturing hub, the UAE’s role is consequential. Hence, to ensure its diversification and increase investments and trade figures, identifying attractive opportunities in the F&B market is essential. To accomplish this, we rely on Jafza, the leading trade and logistics hub. The free zone’s ability to cater to diverse F&B industries and support farm-to-shelf supply chain activities is unmatched. The common user facilities can be used for trade and processing of a variety of products and ready-to-consume food items. Moreover, keeping in mind the evolving market, we are constantly upgrading our facilities that have helped us forge valuable global and regional partnerships.”

A Mega Food Factory

Jafza’s integrated F&B cluster caters to a diverse array of segments in food manufacturing and distribution and is home to some of the world’s leading brands, including Unilever, Nestle, Heinz, McCain, Hunter Foods, Alokozay Group of Companies, Al Khaleej Sugar, Bayara, to name a few.

The free zone’s infrastructure is equipped to meet the ever-changing demands of F&B brands; from processing, manufacturing and blending, to seafood farming, packaging, trading, distribution, warehousing and office spaces.

A ‘Halal Foods’ Market

The F&B markets account for an annual increase of 3.8 per cent, and the Middle East and Africa region are positioned as global gateways for Halal industries. Jafza’s Halal F&B Trade Incubation Centre in Jafza One offers premium benefits, lowering operational costs of halal foods businesses, thereby catering to the growing ‘halal foods’ sector, which is projected to reach USD739.59bn by 2025 as per predictions by Grand View Research Inc. At the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe, Jebel Ali connects businesses to a growing consumer base and serves as an ideal hub to this import-dependent market.

A Hot Cuppa

The free zone has been the driving force for coffee trade through Dubai. Over the last five years, coffee trade witnessed a growth of 26 per cent CAGR. 67 import countries and 51 export countries contribute to this surge, with the UAE occupying a mega share of 37 per cent as the key export country. The free zone attracts leading coffee companies from around the world, providing warehousing, packaging, roasting and other facilities and innovative solutions for coffee trading companies.

Jafza has also been steering tea trade in the country that is at the forefront of tea trading and re-export. The UAE imports tea from over 60 countries, and exports to over 127 countries. An estimated 174,000 metric tonnes of tea, valued at over AED2.6bn passed through the UAE. As the largest tea processing centre, Dubai produces nearly 20 billion cups of tea annually. Contributing to this growth is the tea segment in Jafza that offers world-class tea blending, packing, and manufacturing. Some of the free zone’s top trading partners include the Middle East, Australia, South Asia, Europe and West Africa.

A Global Food Logistics Zone

Jafza’s infrastructure, centralised location and access to established trade routes have worked in its favour. Its 1.69 million sqm combined facilities consisting of plots, office spaces, LIUs and warehouses, have underpinned the growth of 584 F&B companies from 71 countries. DP World’s global logistics network aids customer growth, helping them target unchartered territories where they can explore business expansion opportunities. Additionally, boosting the local and regional F&B industry is Jebel Ali Port’s first-of-its-kind F&B Terminal equipped to process cereals, meat and seafood products, bottled water, and dairy products with specialised facilities for oil, tea, coffee, cacao, spices, and various primal food products.

A Technology-powered Zone

ZADI, an online cross-border trade facilitation platform for food shipments by Dubai Trade is DP World’s single window for all digital trade solutions. The platform efficiently connects food traders with food sources, enabling them to easily access food supplies and transfer shipments, choosing from a wide array of DP World’s shipping line partners. All processes take place seamlessly without the need to transport the food items outside the free zone until the products reach consumers through local and global markets.

 A Taste of the Future

The onset of the pandemic and its economic impact has profoundly altered consumer behaviour. Despite this, as per forecasts by Fitch Solutions, food spending growth will accelerate in 2022, expanding by 4.3 per cent, up from 2.6 per cent in 2021. Food spending is expected to grow by an average annual growth rate of 4.2 per cent over the next three years (2022 – 2025). The increase in consumer spending will undoubtedly have a positive impact on production and trade, fuelling economic activity in the country. At a time when an industrial boom is on the horizon, support from business districts such as Jafza is integral to meeting this increase in demand.