F&B sector to hit an annual growth rate of nearly 4% in the UAE
aTP- Arab tourism portal- Dubai, – Too much of anything is good for nothing, or so the saying goes. But in the food and beverage industry, the multitude of cuisines choices and food types is looked upon positively. In the UAE, the value of the food and beverage (F&B) sector in 2015 was AED 42.9 Billion according to a KPMG Food and Beverage Survey, which used data from market research firm Euromonitor International.
With upcoming malls, themes parks, and expected increases in tourism, the F&B sector is expected to grow to AED 48.5 Billion by 2018 at an annual growth rate of nearly 4% in the UAE. Of course the plethora of F&B outlets leads to other issues. For F&B outlet patrons choosing an outlet is a difficult decision. For the F&B outlets the issue is getting their brand the visibility to be chosen by the consumer! These are essentially two sides of the same coin.
The question is how do you make lemonade when everyone else is trying to make lemonade and sell it too? The answer, according to Mr. Bahaa Fatairy, MD of BR Communications, a PR Consultancy firm in Dubai, is “A thorough and consolidated marketing approach’’.
Social media, Mr. Fatairy said is almost the first thought that most have on their mind when thinking about marketing campaigns. “I would caution anyone from using social media exclusively for their marketing campaigns simply because it is harder for people to remember seeing a social media campaign amongst all the other social media campaigns for F&B outlets,’’ he said.
In the UAE, simply running a social media campaign to raise awareness of a new F&B outlet is insufficient as websites and apps such as Tripadvisor.com, Zomato.com, and Talabat.com are used to search for F&B outlets and the ratings and reviews can play apart in forming an opinion about the F&B outlet. This form of online ‘guerrilla’ marketing can be both beneficial and disadvantageous to the F&B outlet.
Social media marketing campaigns should be undertaken with a specific goal and clearly defined marketing plan in mind suggest Mr. Fatairy. “At BR Communications we initially consult with our clients in a fact-finding mission to understand the core values of their brand or what they want their brand to be known for and which marketing channels and methods will communicate those values. We usually recommend a cross-channel marketing solution involving social media and traditional media so that we focus on press releases, feature articles and constructing a public image of the company with the public,’’ stressed Mr. Fatairy.
Competing in the UAE’s F&B industry is not easy task, creating a buzz and brand awareness is extremely important for start-up F&B outlets that will be competing with larger franchises and big names in the F&B industry. Keeping up with trends in the industry is also an important strategy for brand and product development stressed Mr. Fatairy who said, “A portion of our consultancy is in helping our clients identify the trends in their industry and developing the appropriate responses to those trends.”
For instance, trends in the F&B industry in the UAE are moving towards healthy eating. According to Nielsen’s ‘Global Health & Wellness Survey’, 83% of UAE respondents said they were willing to pay more for healthy foods. This provides a nice niche for healthy food start-ups to begin operations, but continuing profitable operations, requires marketing that only professionals can provide