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Industrial zones all across the UAE are benefitting from a growing appetite for food and beverage companies (F&B) setting up production, packaging and logistics facilities.
The number of F&B companies at the Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (Jafza) has jumped by 13 per cent in 2014 and the momentum is expected to continue.
The free zone currently has around 460 multinationals involved in the F&B sector. Food processed here is transported to countries in Africa, south and west Asia, and even to central Europe.
While the export market is big, the companies are looking at the growing local market where the food consumption is growing at 6.9 per cent annually. F&B companies located at Jafza made business of around Dh20 billion in 2014.
In Abu Dhabi, the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad), which offers easy access to the Khalifa Port, has emerged as a popular destination for F&B companies. The industrial hub has a separate cluster dedicated to the F&B sector. A frozen food manufacturing unit employing around 1,400 people has already started operations at Kizad. It will produce around 70,000 tonnes of frozen food annually. A vegetable oil production plant, a flour mill as well as a date production company are expected to come up soon. A specialised cold storage and distribution centre is also coming in the logistics cluster at Kizad. It will help store and distribute food and other perishable products.
In Dubai, the Dubai Industrial City and Dubai Industrial Park are also attracting a number of food processing companies. Some of them are relocating from traditional areas like Al Quoz because of the availability of larger plots of land in these newer industrial clusters. Dubai's largest food packaging facility spanning over 350,000 square feet has come up in DIP in 2013.
• There is a sharp rise in food and beverage companies in Jafza
• Dubai Industrial City, Dubai Industrial Park also attract F&B firms
• There are big food processing units coming up in capital's Kizad
Source: S. Dhar, Special to Properties
The writer is a freelancer