Iain Mars, chief commercial operator of São Paolo-based Minerva Foods also said that the company was working with the Saudi Agriculture and Livestock Investment Company to address food security in the region through a new distribution system.
“The Middle East faces a lot of challenges, including the non-favourable climate and limited availability of water, as well as the political insecurity in some countries,” said Mars, adding that regional investment in meat production has traditionally been low because it is expensive, leading to a high dependency on imports.
This, he said, was despite the influence of urbanisation and population growth, as well as better purchasing power contributing to an increase in regional meat consumption.
“All these factors increase the potential for South America to become the main supplier for the Middle East, exporting high-quality products with efficiency and at competitive prices,” he said.
“The change in format can only help as the dedicated World Food sector will allow us to better showcase what we have to offer.”
Mars believes that organic foods will be the Middle East’s premier growth sectors, saying: “Organic and grass-fed demand should increase following a shift in global behaviour towards lean and natural products.”
According to the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce’s Michel Alaby, Arab countries together form the second-biggest market for Brazilian foods after China, with regional sales reaching US$8.7bn in 2015.
“Among the most important Brazilian foodstuff products exported to the Arab countries are meat, sugar, cereals, oil seeds, coffee, milk and fruits. Brazilian companies are developing their knowledge of the Arab countries and features such as the Halal certificates for, but not limited to, meat and its bi-products,” Alaby said.