Qatar’s food consumption has been forecast to grow to 1.9mn tonnes in 2023, Alpen Capital has said in a report.

This represents an annualised rate of 2.3% from an estimated 1.7mn tonnes in 2018.

Growth in food consumption is likely to be aided by high disposable income (highest in the region), increasing number of young and urbanised consumer base and a growing expatriate population, the researcher said.

Cereals and dairy are likely to be the “fastest growing” food categories consumed between 2018 and 2023, displaying an annualised growth of 4.7% and 4%, respectively, Alpen Capital said.

Fruits and vegetables are set to grow at a modest of 0.2% and 1.3% (annualised growth), respectively between the period under consideration.

“Others” is set to witness a 1.4% annualised growth between 2018 and 2023.

During 2018-2023, per capita income and real GDP are likely to increase at CAGR of 3.5% and 2.8%, respectively. With a view to offset the impact of blockade on the country by a quartet of Arab nations, the government has “boosted the production of food items locally, which is likely to positively influence” the food consumption, Alpen Capital noted.

Food consumption is also dependent on the growing influx of tourist in the country. The upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup is expected to attract millions of tourists for the 28-day sporting event.

The government is also taking numerous steps to encourage local companies to invest in regional and international market as envisioned in Qatar National Vision 2030¸ Alpen Capital said.

Some of these initiatives include establishment of Hamad Port, participation in food expos and development of new malls and hotels.

Government’s economic diversification efforts in line with the FIFA 2022 World Cup and Vision 2030 preparations have attracted huge expatriate inflow to Qatar.

This has resulted in a change of demographics with about 70% of the population falling under the age group of 25 – 64 years.

Qatar is considered as one of the richest countries globally, with a GDP per capita (PPP at constant prices) of $115,979 in 2018.

This, Alpen Capital noted, further underscores the significant resources at the consumers’ disposal to spend on dining.

“All these factors are very accretive for the growth of the food sector in Qatar,” Alpen Capital said.

During 2016, Qatar had about 3,000 operational outlets offering food items, which generated about $1.9bn in revenue (+11.7% CAGR since 2011) during the corresponding period.

In line with its GCC counterparts, the Qatari Government is also stressing the importance of healthy eating habits.

In February last year, the Ministry of Public Health started the “Fat, sugar and salt reduction initiative” with an aim to limit the usage of such ingredients in food and beverages manufactured locally and in those imported from outside countries.

Other related initiatives taken by the government include implementation of 100% taxes on health damaging food and beverages including alcohol, energy drinks, etc. effective January 1, 2019.