Top 3 European delicacies popular in the Middle East

Food products from Europe are in high demand across the Middle East. Which European delicacies are now the most popular? What is the origin of these products? And why exactly are these foods so popular with Middle Eastern customers? We will explain it in this blog.

The numbers speak for themselves

Figures from the European Commission show that, as Europe, we export three product groups specifically to the Middle East. Exports take place to the countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Cereals and cereal preparations, dairy products and chocolate are especially popular.

We would like to tell you more about these foods, their origins and why they enjoy so much popularity.

Grains and grain preparations

Grains are the seeds of grasses. Common examples of these grasses are rice, wheat and corn. These grains form the basis for various products. Think of pasta or bread.

We make various grain products from these grains, also called grain preparations. This includes, for example, flour, breakfast cereals and couscous.

Grains and grain preparations contain carbohydrates, proteins, fibers, vitamins and minerals. Whole grains and grain preparations in particular contain a lot of fiber, which has been proven to have a beneficial effect on health.

Origin of grain and grain preparations

Grain is produced on a large scale in Europe. In the Netherlands we mainly grow wheat, rye, teff and barley. Other countries that produce a lot of grain are Spain, Germany, France and Poland.

Popularity in the Middle East

From 2022, tourism increased significantly in the Middle East. It is expected that millions more tourists will arrive in the coming years. In order to provide all these people with food, the supply of grain, rice and maize, among other things, must increase significantly.

Given the widely varying temperatures and limited access to water in some areas, grain production in the Middle East is far from sufficient and the countries have to rely on imports.

Dairy products

Dairy products are also known as milk and milk products. This milk comes from dairy cows. A large number of milk products are made from this milk, such as cheese, yoghurt and butter.

European delicacies popular in the Middle East

We distinguish between full, semi-skimmed and skimmed milk. The name of the milk depends on the fat percentage. Whole milk contains the most fat, while skimmed milk has the least fat.

Bacteria naturally occur in milk. By pasteurizing or sterilizing this milk, these bacteria are rendered harmless. Raw milk, the product obtained directly from a dairy cow, is not pasteurized or sterilized.
We have many different milk products in Europe. The most famous are chocolate milk, crème fraiche, ice cream, whipped cream and sour cream.

Milk and milk products contain proteins, fat and carbohydrates. They are also a source of vitamins and minerals. This makes them an important part of a healthy diet.

Origin of dairy products

The Netherlands produces a lot of dairy. In addition, many dairy products come from countries such as Germany, Belgium and France.

Popularity in the Middle East

The countries in the Middle East experience a lot of heat and drought for most of the year. As a result, few or no crops grow, making little food available for livestock farming. This is immediately reflected in milk production.

In addition, milk does not have a long shelf life due to the extreme weather conditions. Products, such as cheese and yogurt, must be consumed quickly otherwise they will spoil. This is the reason that, for example, ripened cheeses cannot be produced in the Middle East. This means that the production of dairy products there is low and the demand for these products is high.

This demand is only expected to increase in the coming years due to population growth. In addition, people live much more consciously and it is common practice that dairy products contain good nutritional values. It forms the basis for a balanced and healthy lifestyle. In addition, incomes are also rising in these countries, allowing people to spend more money on luxury dairy products.


Chocolate consists of a mixture of cocoa powder, cocoa butter and sugar. If desired, other ingredients can be added, such as milk powder, nuts, fruits or flavorings. Chocolate contains the substances theobromine and caffeine. These substances have a stimulating effect, although this is less strong than coffee.

Origin of chocolate

Cocoa beans come from the cocoa tree. This grows in countries with a humid climate, often around the equator. The cocoa beans are processed into chocolate. In addition to the Netherlands, Germany is also a major producer of chocolate.

Popularity in the Middle East

Chocolate is an important part of hospitality in Middle Eastern households. The consumption of the product is strongly influenced by special occasions such as the Ramadan. It is also an important component of desserts, such as caramel vermicelli – one of the traditional desserts from the Middle East.

Meet the top

Now that you know more about the top 3 European delicacies, we would like to introduce you to our product range. We have been a household name in the Middle East for more than 25 years when it comes to dairy products, groceries, seafood, meat, fruit and vegetables.

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