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Dates are one of the oldest fruit cultivated mainly in the Arabian region, followed by the Middle East. However, the emerging trend of healthy snacking is making dates consumption rise in other parts of the world. It has anti-inflammatory and essential nutrients and has a large amount of crude fiber.
According to the CBI Ministry of Foreign Affairs, global date production is growing steadily and reached over 1.1 million tonnes in 2019. Saudi Arabia is the leading producer of dates, with a 20% share of the global output, followed by Iran (15%) and the United Arab Emirates (12%).
Europe is the fastest-growing import region in the world. Europe had increased its share of world date imports from 10% in 2015 to more than 16% in 2019. Total European date imports reached 162,000 tons in 2019, worth USD 483 million. More than 85% of dates imported into Europe come from developing countries.
In 2019, Dates, fresh or dried, were the world's 1317th most traded product, with a total trade of $1.98B, and top exporters of dates were Iraq (USD 358 Million), Tunisia (USD 287 Million), Saudi Arabia (USD 229 Million), UAE (USD 215 Million), and Israel (USD 161 Million).
Dates have an excellent nutritional profile with rich sources of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, primarily carotenoids, and phenols. There is a rising demand for dates in the processing industry to make date-based syrups and purees. Manufacturers now use dates as an ingredient for their healthy snacks, desserts, and confectionery to enhance the product's nutritional content. Furthermore, increasing fitness trends also drive the growth of the market. Although dates are naturally high in sugar, they don't quickly spike blood sugar. Instead, they provide a slow-release carbohydrate that allows a constant flow of energy to fuel the workout. Dates are well known for their high content of antioxidants which can be beneficial for the health of the heart and lungs.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the date is under serious threat from the red weevil, the world's deadliest and most destructive palm pest. Weevils cause economic losses in a million dollars, whether through loss of production or costs for pest control” in Gulf countries and the Middle East, which is a significant economic problem as per the United Nations agency. This factor can contribute to the production decline of dates which is a restraining factor for the market growth.
Key Market Driver -
Growing Demand for Healthy Ingredients and Increasing Health Consciousness
Key Market Restraint -
Risk of Pest and Fungal Sickness in Dates Plantation
The key companies operating in the global dates market are Natural Delights, Best Food Company LLC, Groundworks of Palm Beach County Inc., Maghadi Dates, Bayara Saudi Arabia Ltd., Al Barakah Dates Factory LLC, Haifa Dattes, SUFFCO, Hadiklaim Date Growers Cooperative, Atul Rajasthan Date Palm Ltd., and others.
By nature, the organic segment is expected to grow at a faster pace during the forecast period. The demand for organic food is rising globally due to the increasing number of health-conscious consumers worldwide. According to the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FIBL), the organic market in Europe continues to grow, and in 2018 it increased by almost 8 percent and reached USD 48.64 billion. Germany is a particularly attractive market for organic dates, as the country is Europe's largest organic food market. However, the demand for conventional dates across developing economies is expected to remain high due to the higher affordability of these products than its organic counterparts.
By type, Deglet Nour and Medjool are expected to hold the majority of the share. Deglet Noor and Medjool are the primary preference of consumers owing to their high quality and higher nutritional content. In addition, Deglet Noor is one of the best kinds due to its unique characteristics, i.e., having soft texture, light color, and moderate sugar level.
By end-use, the demand for dates is predicted to increase in dietary supplements because it is a rich source of minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, fiber, and protein. As people pay more and more attention to bone health and mobility, consumers become more aware of healthy aging and disease prevention. Therefore, the demand for supplementary nutritional solutions is increasing. Furthermore, owing to the pandemic situation, the consumers are inclined towards immunity-boosting supplements. These are some of the ongoing trends that are positively affecting the global market, thus contributing to the market's overall growth.
The food & beverage industry is also expected to see an increase in demand for dates. According to CBI – Ministry of foreign affairs, 30% of dates are sold to the foodservice industry in France. Dates are also used to give natural sweetness to products such as shakes, healthy snacks, and smoothies. In addition, they have used an ingredient in bakery products, confectionery, and other foods. Furthermore, innovative fruit snacks and other products containing dates use clean label claims: no added sugar, refined sugar-free, and low sugar.
Based on region, the demand for dates is growing steadily in North American markets, especially for premium dates like Deglet Noor, Medjool, Barhi, and others. The increasing consumer awareness towards the health benefits offered by dates, is escalating the demand of the product across countries such as the U.S. and Canada. According to Agriculture Marketing Resource Centre (AGMRC), the United States imported 76.1 million pounds of fresh dates worth 79.5 million USD, with most imports coming from Tunisia, Israel, and Pakistan. In addition, the United States imported 85,000 pounds of processed or preserved dates valued at $ 136,000, the majority of imports originating from Mexico.
The Middle East and Africa is expected to witness growth in terms of production volume and market share. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), 60 percent of the world's 100 million date palms are in the Arab world, accounting for the majority share for around 70% of global date consumption. Dates were harvested for their sweet fruits and have remained a staple for thousands of years worldwide, especially in the Middle East and Africa. It also has a significant role in the Islamic faith, and consumption is higher among Muslims during Ramadan.
Europe is the largest growing market for dates, as there is an increase in demand for healthy snacking and sugar replacement alternatives. According to the International Nuts and Dried Fruit Council, the biggest dates-consuming economy in Europe is France, which consumed 22000 tonnes of dates in the year 2019.
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