Throughout its long history and experience in working with U.S. cooperators and developing markets for a wide range of U.S. food products and ingredients, AMFI has cultivated in-depth knowledge of MENA food import and distribution channels. Having been in the business for decades, AMFI has developed a sizeable database of the best suppliers and end-users. These targets are based throughout the region and range from middle to senior level technical/professional personnel to executive managers, directors, and CEO’s. Building close relationships with key market players has been instrumental to verify how import standards and regulations are being enforced and to secure a network of reliable individuals who would contribute valuable information in times of crisis. Moreover, AMFI has also identified the best possible target accounts with which U.S. members can engage with to reap the highest returns on their investment. As such, AMFI is considered to be a point of reference, a leading source of market information for U.S. food industry suppliers.
The Middle East food retail sector has grown and developed rapidly in the last few years, particularly in the Gulf region where high purchasing power attracts premium products. Driven by an expanding population base, growing middle class, high spending power, and an increasing appetite for an even wider variety of foods, the region’s local and international retailers are opening new branches and upgrading facilities to accommodate demand.
Having conducted in-store sampling activities, festivals, merchandising activities, and store checks for many U.S. commodity foods, AMFI has in-depth knowledge of the retail market and has established personal relations with key retailers throughout the region.
In terms of foodservice, AMFI has long recognized the importance and potential of this sector in driving growth of U.S. products into the MENA region. Of significance is the expansion of food service chains, ranging from the upper-end hotel industry to casual dining restaurants, and fast food chains, many of which have local partners. AMFI works closely with food service professionals to promote U.S. products. By being members of the Emirates Culinary Guild and collaborating with it on a multitude of occasions to conduct workshops and seminars, AMFI has access to the region’s established and upcoming chefs. This serves to raise interest and use of U.S. products and facilitates keeping up to date on food market trends and events. AMFI also has close contacts with the region’s key print media targeting foodservice operators, which has traditionally been used to place informational articles/recipes. Overall, increasing emphasis on working within the foodservice sector parameter is expected to be placed, as its rapid growth and diversity warrant more attention. Therefore, access to and personal relationships with key decision makers facilitate and effect market penetration for U.S. products even further.
The region’s implementation of food security strategies, as well as the formulation of diversification plans away from oil-based industries, has prompted the growth of the food manufacturing and processing sector. Through its work with various clients, AMFI has developed a deep understanding of the food manufacturing sector in the region. AMFI has conducted many educational/application seminars targeting food manufacturers and processors and has access to some of the largest food product manufacturers in the region. Working closely with key decision makers in this sector allows AMFI to keep abreast of product innovations and other food manufacturing trends.