Saudi dairy company Almarai eyes seafood category in push to buttress food security

SAUDI ARABIA – Almarai Company, a Saudi multinational dairy company, has announced plans to enter into the seafood category as a further measure to bolster food security in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The move will entail Almarai establishing new facilities for processing seafood and producing seafood-based products.

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The Riyadh-based company said its board has approved the move and an initial investment of SAR252m (US$67.2million) has been put aside for the project.

According to Abdullah bin Nasser Al-Badr, Almarai’s CEO, the company venturing into this new sector will expand Almarai’s product offering and contribute to the food security plan.

Under its Vision 2030 plan, Saudi Arabia is keen to improve its food security to ensure the sustainability of critical resources through more domestic production of food, according to Just-food.

Almarai’s linked food security plan was first revealed last year May when it announced plans to double its poultry processing capacity in its domestic market over three phases up to 2026.

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Its expansion into seafood is timely as data from Mordor Intelligence show that the Saudi Arabia Fisheries and Aquaculture Market will register a CAGR of 4.1% during the forecast period 2020-2025.

The growth will be driven by government support to the sector, the rapid increase in demand, the increasing sale of fish via social network platforms, and the highest product safety and traceability standards, state-of-the-art technology, and rigorous biosecurity in the country.

In parallel to the seafood announcement, Almarai also made an announcement in May last year, that it had been approved by its board to expand its poultry and egg production operations.

The Saudi Arabia food and beverage manufacturer was to invest US$1.8billion in the expansion of its poultry operations.

The investment was planned to double poultry processing capacity in its domestic market over three phases up to 2026 with the intention of increasing its market share in the chilled and frozen chicken categories.

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Al-Badr said: “The investment in parent poultry birds will allow Almarai to mitigate an imminent risk of a supply shortage of parent stock in the Kingdom, and, once further investments are deployed, to secure additional parent stock supply.”

The company has chicken processing facilities at Alyoum and Ha’il and in 2020 its poultry business accounted for 15% of total revenue.

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