Egypt’s food and beverage sales dropped by 10% in 2020, still higher than pre- economic reform period

EGYPT – The food and beverage processing and manufacturing sector in Egypt has gained momentum since the 2016 implementation of the economic reform plan and subsequently the devaluation of the Egyptian pound.

The higher exchange rate resulting from the Egyptian pound devaluation compared to the U.S. dollar rendered imported finished consumer-oriented products higher in price as opposed to the locally manufactured.

Consumers with lower and middle income comprising over 85 percent of 104 million population turned therefore to the locally manufactured products.

To remedy the situation food ingredient imports, as well as products requiring further processing have been prioritized; and benefit from low to no duties compared to finished products.

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Local producers, along with international manufactures with processing capabilities in Egypt, have benefited from consumers turning increasingly to more affordable locally produced processed foods.

There has been an expansion of local brands, utilizing imported ingredients, to fill the demand for processed foods previously imported.

Egypt’s processing and manufacturing sector is expected to grow by 5-10 percent in the next three years.

USDA

Smaller package sizes have also been adopted to meet consumers’ more frugal purchase decision making, as well as to lower the quantity of packaging material to keep costs low.

According to USDA in a GAIN report, the country food and beverage processing and manufacturing sector sales reached US$22.3 billion in 2019 compared to US$11.3 billion in 2016, an increase of about 97 percent.

However, in 2020, the sector’s sales were US$20 billion, a decrease of about 10 percent from 2019.

This decrease was mainly a result of the diminished sales to the tourism sector which halted completely when Egypt closed its borders between the months of March and June 2020, and the food service sector closed for many months as a result of safety measures such as closure of restaurants, coffee shops, commercial and crafts shops, commercial centers.

Also, the report highlights that the country imported about US$5.8 billion worth of food and beverage ingredients and additives in 2020.

This is about an 18 percent decrease from the 2019 import value of US$7.2 billion, affected by trade restriction as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.

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The United States, one of the leading markets of food ingredients globally, was Egypt’s seventh largest supplier in 2020, with US$225.4 million accounting for about five percent of total market share.

However, the report notes that, U.S.-origin food ingredients face competition from European and South American exports due to shipping proximity to Egypt and/or lower production costs in these countries.

It is anticipated that as the COVID-19 pandemic effects start to fade away the processing, manufacturing sector will start to grow by 5-10 percent in the next three years.

Egypt’s food and beverage processing and manufacturing sector is fragmented. Packaged food dominates about 68 percent of the sector.

Dairy is the largest sector with US$3.4 billion in sales or about 22.4 percent, followed by rice, pasta and noodles with about US$2.7 billion in sales or about 17.5 percent. Similarly, baked goods sales are about US$2.6 billion in or about 17.5 percent.

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