Saudi Arabia's food industry: A path to economic growth

28 February 2024 2 min. read

One of the key pillars of Saudi Arabia’s economic development agenda, the Kingdom’s food and agriculture sector is rapidly expanding. Haitham Abugazaleh, an expert at Frost & Sullivan, shares some of the key developments and highlights in the path to further growth.

The food and agriculture sector stands as a cornerstone of economic development in Saudi Arabia, reaching unprecedented heights with a contribution of approximately 100 billion Saudi Riyals ($26.6 billion) to the GDP in 2022 – the highest level on record.

In alignment with the National Industrial Strategy, which aims to achieve food security and holistic economic development, the Kingdom anticipates attracting $20 billion in investments in the food industry by 2035.

Achieving self-sufficiency

Saudi Arabia has made remarkable strides in ensuring food security, particularly in the animal protein sector. With a self-sufficiency level exceeding 100% in dairy products and table eggs – 118% and 117% respectively – the Kingdom leads the region in this aspect. The poultry and red meat sector boasts self-sufficiency levels of 68% and 60% respectively, indicating substantial progress towards food independence.

The fish self-sufficiency ratio stood at 48% in 2022, however, presenting an area with potential for further development.

Investment initiatives: Catalyst for growth

Recognizing the pivotal role of the food industry in ensuring national security, both the government and private sector in Saudi Arabia have unveiled ambitious investment plans. Two highlights include:

  • Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Company (SALIC) has strategically acquired stakes in key players within the food industry. Notably, it secured a 25% stake in Minerva Foods, one of the largest meat producers in South America, and a 42.4% stake in the National Aquaculture Group (NAQUA).
  • Al Marai, a prominent food and beverage manufacturing and distribution company in the GCC region, is set to invest SAR 1.2 billion in hatchery production facilities in the Al-Jouf region. Furthermore, it aims to diversify its portfolio by venturing into the seafoods category, reflecting a commitment to innovation and growth.

Frost & Sullivan

At Frost & Sullivan, we are deeply committed to nurturing the growth of the local food industry and supporting key players along the entire food chain. Our comprehensive suite of services includes feasibility studies, commercial due diligence, strategy roadmap development, go-to-market strategies, investor outreach, and more.

By collaborating with industry stakeholders and regulatory bodies, we aim to facilitate the realization of Vision 2030 goals, driving sustainable economic development and prosperity in Saudi Arabia.