Cereal and snack focus

Moroccan snack market ripe for expansion

By Anthony Fletcher

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Spain

Europe is beginning to take notice of the North African snack
market, which is increasingly receptive to new products and ideas.

And according to Mostafa Hammoud, general director of Leaderfood, the potential for growth is huge.

"We are beginning to see huge growth in the Moroccan snack market,"​ he told FoodNavigator.

"But consumption of snacks per capita remains really low, perhaps about 100g per person per year. Compare this to the south of Spain, where consumption is somewhere between 10 and 12 kg.

"This shows there is huge potential."

Leaderfood belongs to the ONA Group, a diversified Moroccan business that operates 100 per cent of the domestic sugar market, 65 per cent of the milk market and 50 per cent of the biscuits market.

The business, which is solely focused on the domestic market at present, is aware that there is growing interest in the region from big European players.

Indeed the CIAA, which represents Europe's food and drink industry, is pushing for successful trade negotiations between the EU and Mediterranean countries, which it sees as vital for the expansion of lucrative new markets.

The Mediterranean countries are already an important export destination for European food and drink products with a positive € 1.1 billion trade balance largely favourable to the EU. With more than 600 million consumers in 2010, the Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area (EMFTA) is an attractive and expanding market.

However, the snack market remains relatively unorganised. In addition, specific regional products such as sunflower seeds and roasted nuts remain very popular.

But Leaderfood believes there is a definite market for new snacks such as crisps and fried corn. Hammoud said that his company has registered 100 per cent growth in fried corn in the past year, though volumes remain relatively low.

Hammoud is also confident that the introduction of greater free trade can only be good for Moroccan, as well as European, business. A major headache is the current cost of freight in North Africa he claims that it is cheaper to ship produce from France to Singapore than it is to ship goods to Morocco.

This of course has implications for raw material prices. But as trade relations between Europe and North Africa improve, both sides stand to benefit.

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