Delta Food Industries (FZC), one of the UAE’s fastest growing food exporters, will invest AED 40 million (US$ 11m) in expanding its manufacturing and packaging facilities in the Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF Zone). According to the manufacturer, which was established in Sharjah in 2011, the expansion is to help ramp up production to meet the growing needs of export markets in the Middle East and Africa.
Delta Foods manufactures and packages a variety of milk products and tomato based products such as tomato paste, ketchup and chili sauce to customers in 16 countries across MEA. The company currently exports 150 TEUs (twenty-foot-equivalent units) per month and expects to increase production to export 250 TEUs by the second quarter of 2015.
According to the UAE Ministry of Economy, 29% of the country’s manufacturing firms have chosen to locate themselves in Sharjah (2011) and SAIF Zone’s strategic location and proximity to Sharjah International Airport have made it popular with manufacturing, packaging and distribution companies. 800 new companies registered with SAIF Zone during the first six months of 2014, bringing the total number of tenants in zone to 6,700.
Sharjah is well positioned for importers, exporters and re-exporters, being a hub for a number of international cargo airlines including AeroLogic, the joint venture cargo airline of DHL Express, and Lufthansa Cargo, while having seaports on both the Indian Ocean (Port Khor Fakkan) and the Arabian Gulf (Port Khalid).
Consumer spending on food in the GCC alone is expected to reach US$106 billion (AED 389 billion) by 2018 with Saudi Arabia and the UAE together accounting for 75 per cent of the food retail market.
Sources: Delta Foods, SAIF Zone, A.T. Kearney*