US quickservice chain Dairy Queen has signed a franchisee to open at least 20 restaurants in the United Arab Emirates by 2019. The brand previously had a presence in the UAE, but the former franchisee closed the last store in 2010.
The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia hold the largest share of annual chocolate spending in the Middle East region, totaling $38 and $31 per capita, respectively, compared to the $4 per capita average in other Middle East and African markets. Demand growth in these markets attracted new producers to the region's Sweets & Snacks expo this year, which was 25% larger and featured more health-conscious and sugar-free items.
Restaurants and bakeries in the United Arab Emirates
are fulfilling demand for gluten-free goods by revamping cooking and baking procedures and using only the cleanest wheat alternatives. Awareness of celiac disease has spurred growth of gluten-free food products.
“With the demand on the rise I think we will start to see this go from a fashion niche to a mainstream demand,” says Aaron Maree, executive pastry chef of Blossom Sweets.
Al Ain Dairy has launched camel milk ice cream in the United Arab Emirates as a healthier alternative to regular ice cream. The camel's milk frozen treat will be sold in supermarkets and gas stations and will be available in strawberry, caramel and chocolate flavors.