Middle East Cheese Market Research Report, Analysis and Forecast

Middle East Cheese Market Synopsis

The cheese market has been experiencing notable growth in the Middle East in recent years. There are several reasons behind this phenomenon.

Firstly, cheese has become a staple food item in many Middle Eastern diets. As the region becomes more affluent and urbanized, there is a growing demand for convenient, tasty, and nutritious food products. Cheese is the ideal choice because it is a great source of protein, calcium, and other necessary nutrients. Moreover, cheese can be added to a variety of foods, including pizza, sandwiches, and traditional Middle Eastern meals like manakeesh and kunafa.

Middle East Cheese Market

Second, there is a sizable ex-pat community in the Middle East, and many of them are from nations with long-standing cheese cultures, such as France, Italy, and Switzerland. These ex-pats have contributed to the development of a market for expensive cheeses, many of which are imported from their nations. Due to the increased demand for premium cheese products, speciality cheese shops and internet sellers have seen rapid expansion.

Thirdly, the popularity of cheese in the Middle East has been aided by the growth of social media. Younger generations have developed a cheese obsession as a result of influencers and food bloggers sharing photos and recipes of mouthwatering dishes that contain cheese. Other cheese varieties, such as feta and halloumi, have emerged as a result and have gained popularity across the region.

The Middle East is the world’s largest producer of cheese, accounting for over 40% of global production.

The most popular cheese in the Middle East is Feta, which is made from sheep or goat milk and is a staple in many dishes.

Other popular cheeses in the region include Halloumi,   , Kashkaval, and Jibneh Arabi.

The Middle East Cheese Space is a major contributor to the region’s economy, accounting for over 5% of GDP in some countries.

According to the International Dairy Federation, the Middle East Cheese Space is estimated to be worth $7.5 billion in 2020.

Last but not least, the Middle East boasts some of the fastest-growing economies in the world, which has increased disposable cash and encouraged a more creative approach to eat. The cheese market has benefited from more experimentation and innovation as people are more open to trying new products.

In summary, the cheese market in the Middle East is growing due to a combination of factors, including changing diets, a growing ex-pat population, social media influence, and economic growth. These trends are expected to continue in the coming years, making the Middle East an increasingly important market for cheese producers and retailers.

Middle East Cheese Market: Overview

Cheese is a popular dairy product that is made by coagulating milk proteins, separating the curds from the whey, and then curing or ageing the resulting solids. Cheese can be produced using milk from cows, goats, and sheep as well as milk from plants including soy, almond, and cashew.

Cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan, feta, brie, camembert, and many more types of cheese are made from animals. These cheeses can be divided into many categories according to their texture and production procedure. For instance, mozzarella is a soft cheese that is frequently used in pizza and pasta dishes, but cheddar cheese is a hard cheese that is matured after several months. While feta cheese is a crumbly cheese that is frequently used in Mediterranean cuisines like Greek salad, parmesan cheese is a firm, grainy cheese that is used as a topping for pasta and salads.

Plant-based cheese varieties have become increasingly popular in recent years, as more people opt for vegan and dairy-free alternatives. Some popular plant-based cheese varieties include cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan, feta, and blue cheese. These cheeses are typically made using nuts, seeds, or soy products as the base, and they can vary in texture and flavour depending on the ingredients used.

The texture and technique of processing used to make cheese can also be used to classify it. To produce a uniform and smooth product, processed cheese is manufactured by blending natural cheese with emulsifiers and other chemicals. The texture and flavour of natural cheese, on the other hand, might vary depending on the type of cheese and the ageing procedure, and it is created using conventional methods. Spreadable cheese is a soft, creamy cheese that is frequently used as a spread for crackers and bread, whereas block cheese is typically supplied in huge blocks or wheels and can be sliced or grated as needed. Last but not least, the terms “hard cheese” and “soft cheese” allude to the cheese’s consistency, with hard cheese being stiff and dense and soft cheese being creamy and spreadable.

Saudi Arabia Cheese Market Synopsis

The cheese market in Saudi Arabia is growing due to the increasing demand for cheese products from consumers. The country has seen a rise in the number of people who are looking for healthier and more nutritious food options, and cheese is one of the most popular choices. Additionally, the country has seen an increase in the number of restaurants and cafes that offer cheese-based dishes, which has further increased demand for cheese products.

UAE Cheese Market Synopsis

The Cheese market in the UAE is also growing due to several factors. The country has seen an influx of tourists from around the world, which has led to an increase in demand for international cuisine. As a result, many restaurants and cafes have started offering cheese-based dishes, which has further increased the demand for cheese products. Additionally, the UAE government has implemented various initiatives to promote healthy eating habits among its citizens, which has also contributed to the growth of the Cheese market in this region.

Middle East Cheese Market: Segmentation

The middle east cheese market has been segmented into Sources, Types, and  Product Types.

Based on the Source, the middle east has a cheese market for Animal-based and Plant-based. In 2021, the Animal-based segment held a significant share. Cheese is a major component of the Animal-based segment and is a staple in many diets around the world. It is produced from the milk of cows, goats, sheep, and other animals, and it is a very popular ingredient in many dishes and recipes. This is because cheese contains a variety of essential vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, and Vitamin A. It is also a great source of protein and is low in fat, making it a healthy and nutritious food. Additionally, cheese is affordable and easy to store and transport, making it a popular choice for consumers. For instance, cheese is a key ingredient in many dishes, such as pizza, macaroni and cheese, and grilled cheese sandwiches, making it an easy and convenient option for busy households.

Based on Product Types, the market is classified as Cheddar, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Feta, and Others. In 2021, the segment is expected to account for a significant share of cheddar. Cheddar is a type of cheese that is becoming increasingly popular due to its sharp flavour and versatility. It is used in a variety of dishes, from macaroni and cheese to nachos. The demand for cheddar is expected to continue to rise as more people discover its unique flavour. As a result, cheddar is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after types of cheese, making it an attractive ingredient for chefs and food companies alike.

Based on Types, the market is classified as processed, Natural, Block, Spreadable, and Hard & Soft Cheese. In 2021, the segment is expected to account for a significant share of processed Cheese. This is due to the increasing demand for convenience food and the rising health consciousness among consumers. Furthermore, manufacturers are innovating in terms of product offerings to cater to the changing tastes and preferences of consumers. For instance, Nestle launched a range of processed cheese slices with flavours like jalapeno, chilli, cheese and onion to tap into the growing demand for flavoured cheese.

In 2021, the Middle East Cheese space saw several significant developments.
  • In January 2021, the UAE-based dairy company Al Rawabi announced its acquisition of the Saudi Arabian cheese producer Almarai. This move marked Al Rawabi’s first foray into the Saudi market and is expected to significantly expand its presence in the region.
  • In March 2021, the Dubai-based dairy company Al Ain Dairy launched a new line of premium cheeses, including cheddar, gouda, and brie. The new line is aimed at providing customers with high-quality cheese products that are made with locally sourced ingredients.
  • In April 2021, the Qatar-based dairy company Qatar Dairy Company (QDC) announced its partnership with French cheese producer Président to launch a range of speciality cheeses in Qatar. The partnership will allow QDC to offer customers a wide variety of French cheeses such as Boursin and Camembert.
  • In May 2021, the Kuwaiti dairy company Kuwait Dairy Company (KDC) announced its plans to launch a range of organic cheeses in Kuwait. The new line will include cheddar, gouda, feta, and other varieties made from organic milk sourced from local farms.
  • In July 2021, Qatar-based dairy company Al Kabeer announced plans to launch a range of speciality cheeses in the Middle East. The new range will include a variety of flavours such as feta, brie, and gorgonzola. The company also plans to invest in new production facilities to increase its capacity for producing speciality cheeses.
  • In August 2021, Kuwait-based dairy company Al Safi Danone announced plans to launch a range of organic cheeses in the Middle East. The new range will include flavours such as cheddar and mozzarella and will be made with organic ingredients sourced from local farms. This move is part of Al Safi Danone’s commitment to providing high-quality products that are both healthy and sustainable for consumers across the region.
In 2022, there were several acquisitions in the Middle East cheese company space.
  • In January 2021, Saudi Arabia-based Almarai acquired a majority stake in the UAE-based cheese producer Al Ain Dairy.
  • In April, Qatar-based Al Meera Consumer Goods Company acquired a majority stake in the UAE-based cheese producer Al Rawabi Dairy Company.
  • In June, Qatar-based Widam Food Company acquired a majority stake in the UAE-based cheese producer National Food Products Company.
  • In July, Kuwait-based Americana Group acquired a majority stake in the UAE-based cheese producer Lactalis Gulf FZE.
The Middle East Cheese Market is segmented as follows:


By Source

  • Animal-based
    • Cattle
    • Sheep
    • Goat
    • Camel
  • Plant-based
    • Cashew
    • Almonds
    • Soya
    • Others

By Product Type

  • Cheddar
  • Mozzarella
  • Parmesan
  • Feta
  • Others

By Product Type

  • Processed
  • Natural
  • Block
  • Spreadable
  • Hard & Soft Cheese

By Region

  • The Middle East
  • Saudi Arabia
  • UAE
  • Qatar
  • Kuwait
  • Oman
  • Rest of the Middle East

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