(MENAFN - Arab News) A new legislation by the UAE Federal Ministry of Water and Environment termed "Emirates Organic Foods certification Scheme," has brought more organized focus on the organic products sector, experts said while announcing the details of the 10th edition of the region's only niche organic and natural products show, MENOPE 2012.
The event that has attracted over 100 exhibitors from 25 countries will run for three days between November 27-29 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. MENOPE 2012 has significant country pavilion participation from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, USA, Italy, Romania, Spain, Germany, India and the UAE.
The Middle East is believed to be the fastest growing market for organic and natural products in the world and this has also triggered global interest, evident in the participation of many world players in the organic market.
Nadim Al-Fuqaha, managing director, Global Links, the organizer of MENOPE 2012, said consumption of organic products in the Middle East and North Africa region has been picking up speed. "From a very small base a decade ago, the market for organic products has grown now to over 300 million market driven by the rising affinity of the young population of the region to lead a healthy lifestyle."
He said the awareness on lifestyle diseases and its linkage to food habits has also fuelled interest for organic and natural products.
"The market is growing by over 15 percent year on year and this is evident by the increasing volume of shelf space for organic products in outlets across the region."
The consumption of organic products will also grow as the prospects of an increasing regional population will lead to a rise in food consumption.
According to a study by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), population in the GCC is expected to cross the 50-million mark from the current 40.6 million, growing at a CAGR of 4.6 percent during 2011-2015.
During the period food consumption per capita is also expected to rise at a CAGR of 2.1 percent.
In line with its mandate to promote natural and organic product trade and awareness, MENOPE 2012 will also have seminars on healthy diet organized by the not-for-profit body, MEVEG and on alternative medicines.