Dairy product sales grew by more than 50% between 2007 and 2012 to US$5.8 billion in the six Gulf Co-operation Council countries, according to a new report from leading food and drink consultancy Zenith International (zenithinternational.com).

Saudi Arabia is the biggest dairy market among GCC states, accounting for 74% of volume. The largest product category is fresh white milk with a 41% volume share, followed by laban on 21%. In terms of value, cheese is the leading category with a 22% share, closely followed by fresh white milk. Laban is the fastest growing category, with 9% growth in 2012.

Saudi Arabia leads the way in consumption per person, whereas consumers in Kuwait spend the most on dairy products.

"With many people leading more hectic lifestyles, the demand for packaged food is rising. The consumption of protein rich food, such as dairy, is on the increase. The current market environment offers a substantial investment opportunity for both local companies and multinationals", comments Zenith's regional research coordinator Harikrishnan Pillai.

Among other findings in the 2013 Zenith report on the GCC Dairy Market:

  • 80% of dairy sales come from four key product categories - fresh white milk, laban, yogurt and cheese.
  • 2012 growth was stronger than in the previous four years - the main drivers being population, urbanization, incomes and health awareness.
  • Saudi Arabia is providing a strong impetus to the market, with its consumers moving towards healthier eating habits.

The 2013 Zenith Report on the GCC Dairy Market contains information on 9 product categories - fresh white milk, UHT white milk, flavored milk, laban, yogurt, liquid cream, ice cream, butter and cheese - giving analysis of consumption and spending trends as well as volume shares of leading manufacturers in all 6 GCC countries.