The food packaging industry in the Middle East is expected to continue to grow at an average of 10 to15 per cent annually, according to Al Bayader International, the distributor and manufacturer of food packaging products for the retail and catering industries in the region.
Nidal Haddad, Chief Executive Officer of Al Bayader, said: "This growth is in line with international forecasts that confirm that food companies and industries related to food, such as disposable items and other sectors, will escape unscathed from the economic and financial market developments. They will even increase their market by 10 per cent in 2009."
He was speaking at the opening ceremony of the 14th Gulf Food Exhibition in Dubai which kicked off yesterday at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
A recent survey, conducted in the US based on more than 800 companies, concluded that the food and packaging industries increased more than 10 per cent during the fourth quarter of 2008.
The survey found that 59 per cent of food and food packaging companies project revenue increases for the next 12 months.
The majority of food and packaging manufacturers in the United States also expect to increase their workforce over the current year, with 10 per cent predicting they would hire new employees in the period.
"Food and food packaging companies do not have the same concerns in the current global economic challenges. Ours is a demand driven message. The food packaging industry remains healthy and will continue to be so, driven by the fact that food and food packaging consumption is not going to weaken and that changing social trends will lead to increased usage of disposable food packaging," said Haddad.
Prices of raw materials have also declined. "The commodity costs are starting to decline; Polystyrene resin prices went down from $1,800 (Dh6,611) per tonne in September 2008 to $800 per tonne in January 2009. Aluminum and paper also witnessed a huge decrease in price," he said.
Branded firms are also coming out quite well for the food packaging industry in the current market environment.