Selling food processing machinery to the Middle East

Selling food processing machinery to the Middle East

Selling food processing machinery to the Middle East

Machinery is a prime import in the Middle East due to the growing demand for cutting-edge equipment to suit tourists’ needs. Selling food processing machinery to Middle East countries requires fostering good relationships via frequent visits and regular trainings.

Clients are discerning and aware when selecting machinery sellers. They are also willing to pay more for quality products and have specialised needs. For instance, clients in Saudi Arabia have a need for induction advanced speed ovens. To put it simply, selling food processing machinery to the Middle East will come easy if the seller can satisfy these four factors: a good relationship, availability of product, quality of product, and a fair price.

An effective purchasing process

Today, food retail clients are particular about quality, benefits and the pricing of machinery. Food processing machines are sought-after in the Middle East because of the hot climate and the massive food imports from different continents all over the globe. Hence, an effective purchasing process would decrease risks in implementing food businesses within the region.

Here are some key points on this market:

      • Knowing the client is important because this will give insights on their specific needs. One of the major channels to enter the regional market is through participation in exhibitions, such as Gulfood (UAE) or Foodex (Saudi).
      • The machinery will be subject to various trial periods enforced by retail chains to test the equipment.
      • In some parts of Saudi and Egypt, it is possible to sell products directly to hypermarkets. However, there should be an approval from the proper authorities (e.g. general managers, business development manager, and executive chefs) before sending the equipment.

Essential documents and labeling regulations

It is absolutely necessary for a seller to know the local prerequisites before selling machinery to the Middle East. The Islamic community makes up most of their population and governs many of their rules.

Like for food imports, there are strict labeling regulations and prohibitions for food processing machines in the Middle East.

Some of these rules and regulations include:

          • Obligatory documents (e.g. packing list, bill of lading, invoice, certificate of origin and health certificate) presented to authorities before bringing any food processing machinery into the Middle East.
          • The banning of pork and alcoholic beverages in Saudi Arabia.
          • The federal food safety standard in UAE which recommends that samples of labels and food should be sent for testing.
          • In Egypt, initial approval from the Ministry of Agriculture is often required.
          • Production and expiry dates must be engraved on all products. Saudi Arabia has a voluntary shelf life standard for most food with the exception of perishable food items.
          • The language for the food imports should be in Arabic.

Regional challenges

Surpassing regional challenges is the next obstacle after getting the approval to sell goods and equipment in the Middle East. Again, the region has deeply-rooted customs that entwine with their regulations. Therefore, knowledge on both tradition and regulation would come in handy when conquering Middle Eastern food industry challenges.

Here are some tips on effective Middle East market entry:

          • Choose good partners who compete in the global arena for that extra edge. Someone with the same vision is most preferable.
          • Be transparent with import procedures. Conduct market research to guarantee a safe entry.
          • Educate business partners and prepare them for possible entry costs.
          • Be aware of listing fees. Major retailers may charge high listing fees, while some will ask for reimbursements on expired products.
          • Always offer after-service like equipment repair and maintenance.

The Middle East is filled with massive possibilities for food processing machinery sellers and entrepreneurs. To guarantee legal entry of equipment or items into the country, however, it is highly recommended to conduct detailed market research before initiating business transactions.

This entry in Africa & ME, Asia was updated on October 12, 2016 by specialist.