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Food processing industry in Egypt

Egypt’s food processing is a very dynamic sector,


averaging a compound annual growth rate of 12
percent in the last 5 years. The food processing
industry in Egypt is very fragmented, providing
ample opportunities to tap into the market at all
levels. Barriers to entry are low, as Egypt only
requires product registration for special dietary
food products. However, many U.S. food
ingredients face high tariffs vis-a-vis ingredients
from Europe, Africa and the Middle East, which
enjoy a favorable tariff regimen due to trade
agreements. The top U.S. food ingredient export
to Egypt is processed dairy products at $106 million in 2014 or 82 percent of total exports of U.S. food
ingredients and will remain the leading food ingredient export from the US in the near future. Other
best prospects include U.S. processed eggs, retaining a 20 percent market share Cairo Orestes Vasquez
Ibrahim Mohamed Ron Verdonk Annual 2015 Food Processing Ingredients Egypt 11/9/2015 Required
Report - public distribution and an annual growth rate in sales of 5 percent. U.S. processed vegetables
and pulses have established a niche market in Egypt’s food processing sector. Food preparations face
comparatively lower tariff rates at 5 percent, against the non-tariff rate for African, European, and
Middle Eastern competitors.

Food Processing Sector Egypt’s food processing is a very dynamic sector, accounting for five percent of
the country’s GDP valued at LE 108 billion ($13.5 billion) in 2014 (figure 1). The sector averaged an
annual growth rate of 12 percent in the last 5 years and consists of 77,285 establishments, employing
hundreds of thousands of Egyptians.

The food processing sub-sectors have all increased sales at a brisk pace, with the nutrition/staple sector
dominating all other sectors. In 2014, this sector attained sales of close to EGP 57 billion ($7.3 billion),
followed by the impulse and indulgence product sector at EGP 24 billion ($3.07 billion), and dried
processed food at EGP 11.9 billion ($1.62 billion)
The food processing sector imported $1.89 billion in food ingredients in 2014, excluding meat and bulk
commodities, an increase of 15 percent over 2013. In the last 5 years, imports have grown by an annual
rate of 15 percent (figure 3).

In 2014, Egypt’s top food ingredient import was processed dairy products valued at $802 million, which
includes powdered milk, butter, whey, and cheese. The second largest import category was food
preparations at $293 million, and this includes malt extract, protein concentrates, yeasts, pectates, and
starch. The third highest value import was prepared or preserved seafood at $278 million (figure 4).

• In 2004, the food processing industry (FPI) posted total production of EGP 31 billion representing 50%
of total output of Egypt’s industrial sector. The industry also registered a strong annual growth rate of
20%.
• The formal food processing industry consists of 4700 registered enterprises employing roughly
250,000 skilled workers.
• 87% of the formally registered FPI enterprises are small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which
focus on niche products for regional and local markets. 17.4% are large enterprises that operate over
multiple product sectors, largely for export markets.

• The Egyptian FPI is a large foreign income generator, with export revenues of FPI companies
amounting to $625.8 million in 2003.
• The FPI holds the second largest share of 6.85% in total Egyptian manufactured exports, led by the
mineral fuels and oil products sector with 31.3%.
• Egypt's export performance in fruit and vegetable juices
is outstanding among its regional and global peers, and it
undeniably maintains a consistent performance towards
increased exports of fresh, chilled, and frozen vegetables.
• Strategic alliance with academic, R&D institutes such as
National Research Centre (serving 45 enterprises), and the
Food Technology Centre FTC (serving FPIs through the
Industrial Modernization Centre IMC), helps in increasing
domestic market competitiveness as well as encouraging
enterprises to join the formal sector.
• The GOE established a 50 million fund in January 2005
which was mainly to support and upgrade agro-food
processing operations in Egypt and increase FPI exports.
• The FPI has high growth potential due to low cost raw
material supplies, as well as low labor costs compared to
other global and regional competitors.
Egypt has succeeded in attracting foreign investors who
play a major role in the food processing industry along with
successful national players. Major existing MNCs include
Nestlé, Kraft and UniLever.
• The future expansion of some of the existing international/modern food retailers, the development of
packaging industries, and the growing population of 70 million with an annual growth of 1.99%, would
necessarily provide the driving force for improving cost/price competitiveness, product quality, and
services in the FPI sector and for attracting more investments to expand the industry.
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