Sales of pasta in Saudi Arabia for the period 2018-2022 increased by 28.2% (from 118.5 to 151.9 thousand tons). In 2022, the total sales volume amounted to 151.9 thousand tons, which is 4.8% more than in 2021.

The biggest share in the sales of pasta is occupied by dried pasta, which accounted for 53.7% of total consumption (81.5 thousand tons) in 2022. The volume of sales of dried pasta in 2018-2022 increased by an average of 2.7% per year. Instant noodles accounted for 46.3% of pasta sales in Saudi Arabia in 2022 (70.4 thousand tons). At the same time, the volume of sales of instant noodles in 2018-2022 increased at the fastest pace — by an average of 11.7% per year. This trend is explained by the change in the eating habits of Saudi residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. The largest increase in the consumption of instant noodles occurred in 2020, when the volume of its retail sales increased by 39.7% compared to 2019 (to 143.3 thousand tons) against the background of quarantine restrictions.

The consumption of pasta in Saudi Arabia per capita has been steadily increasing over the past five years, with the highest rates in 2020 (+10.9% compared to 2021 to 4.5 kg per person per year). In 2022, the consumption of pasta per capita amounted to 4.7 kg per person per year, remaining at the level of 2021 (+0.3%). The decrease in the growth rate of the indicator in recent years has been associated with an increase in the population.

The most common type of pasta packaging in Saudi Arabia is soft plastic packaging, which accounted for 84.5% of the volume of sales of this type of product in kind in 2022.

Also, about 15.5% of the sales of pasta were dried pasta and instant noodles in rigid cardboard packaging. The most popular packaging sizes for pasta in Saudi Arabia are 500 g (39.1% of sales in volume terms in 2022), 450 g (22.1%) and 400 g (21.7%). At the same time, the share of sales of products in packages weighing 500 g has gradually increased over the past five years — from 37.4% in 2018 to 39.1% in 2022.

Also, about 8.3% of the total sales of pasta in Saudi Arabia in 2022 fell on large packages (1 kg) and 4.6% on smaller packages (250 g).

In 2022, retail accounted for 93.1% of pasta sales in Saudi Arabia, while the catering segment accounted for 6.9%. At the same time, in the structure of pasta consumption, the share of the catering sector in 2022 amounted to 8.6% (in the structure of noodle consumption — 5.2%).

The volume of pasta production in Saudi Arabia for the period 2018-2022 increased by 67.5% (from 132.3 to 221.5 thousand tons). In 2022, the figure reached 221.5 thousand tons, which is 2.3% higher than in 2021. The increase in pasta production in Saudi Arabia in recent years has been indirectly confirmed by the dynamics of purchases of basic raw materials for flour. In 2019-2022, the country significantly increased wheat imports – in volume terms, the indicator increased more than 4 times (from 903.7 thousand tons in 2019 to 3.7 million tons in 2022).

The volume of imports of pasta from Saudi Arabia in 2022 amounted to 85.5 thousand tons, which is 32.7% more than in 2021, but below the level of 2020 (100.8 thousand tons).

Saudi Arabia's pasta exports increased by an average of 20.1% per year in 2018-2022. In 2022, the volume of deliveries of the country's pasta to foreign markets amounted to 155.1 thousand tons, which is 13.9% more than in 2021. The signing of an agreement for the supply of food products (including pasta) by the Iraqi food company and the manufacturer of pasta from Saudi Arabia Goody (Basamh Trading) had a serious impact on the dynamics of the indicator. a national company. In 2018-2022 exports of pasta to Iraq increased by an average of 68.2% per year (from 9 thousand tons in 2018 to 72 thousand tons in 2022).

The main share (69.8%) in the market of instant noodles in Saudi Arabia in 2022 was occupied by the Indonesian company Indofood Sukses Makmur. The second largest company in terms of sales was South Korean Nongshim, which accounted for 1.4% of the market at the end of the year. Nestle occupied another 0.7% of the Saudi instant noodles market. In total, the three leading suppliers accounted for 71.9% of the sales of instant noodles in the country in 2022.

In the market of dried pasta in Saudi Arabia, the main share (51.9%) in 2022 was occupied by the local Basamh Trading group of companies, which includes a large producer of food products Goody. Wafrah was the second largest seller of this type of pasta in the country's market (19.1% of the market), with Nestle products accounting for another 7.8%. The major Italian pasta producers, Pasta Zara and Barilla, occupied 3.8% and 2.1% of the market, respectively. In total, the top 5 manufacturing companies accounted for 84.7% of sales of dried pasta in Saudi Arabia in 2022.

In 2022, the volume of imports of Saudi Arabia's pasta amounted to 85.5 thousand tons in the amount of 135.3 million US dollars, which is 32.7% (21.1 thousand tons) higher than in 2021 in physical terms and 59.9% (50.7 million US dollars) in value. In 2018-2022, the volume of purchases of pasta in foreign markets increased on average annually by 8.9% in volume and by 12.7% in value.

The basis of Saudi Arabia's pasta imports is consistently pasta without filling — in 2022, such products accounted for 76.9% of imports in volume (65.8 thousand tons) and 66.1% in value (89.4 million US dollars). Significant volumes of supplies also fell on pasta without filling containing eggs — 14.8% (12.6 thousand tons) and 16.2% (21.9 million US dollars), respectively, and on other pasta — 7.2% (6.1 thousand tons) and 15.7% (21.2 million US dollars), respectively. Couscous and pasta with stuffing made up a small part of the country's pasta imports.

In the structure of imports of Saudi Arabia's pasta in volume by the end of 2022, Italy took the leading position, supplying 40.0 thousand tons of products to Saudi Arabia, which amounted to 46.8% of the total imports of pasta into the country. The UAE took the second place with a share of 14.2%. Kuwait is in third place with a share of 7.7%. Saudi Arabia also imported pasta from the Republic of Korea (4.7%) and Indonesia (3.3%). In total, the top 10 supplier countries accounted for 88.0% of pasta imports in kind.

In 2022, relative to the level of 2021. Saudi Arabia increased purchases of pasta from Italy by 2.0 times (+20.4 thousand tons), the Republic of Korea by 2.2 times (+2.2 thousand tons) and Argentina by 3.6 times (+1.3 thousand tons). At the same time, imports from Kuwait (-48.8% or -6.3 thousand tons) and Egypt (-24.8% or -922.0 tons) decreased.

Italy was also the main supplier of pasta to Saudi Arabia in value terms in 2022, supplying these products in the amount of 52.8 million US dollars (39.0% of imports). Major suppliers also included the Republic of Korea (11.8%), the UAE (10.9%), Kuwait (5.2%) and Indonesia (4.4%).

The largest increase in pasta exports to the kingdom in 2022 compared to the previous year was demonstrated by Italy (2.3 times or +30.1 million US dollars), the Republic of Korea (2 times or +8.1 million US dollars) and Argentina (4.4 times or +2.9 million US dollars). At the same time, shipments from Kuwait decreased significantly (-33.4% or -3.6 million US dollars).

In 2022, the average export price of pasta increased by 20.4% to 1,582 US dollars per ton. The most expensive products were supplied from the Republic of Korea at a price of 3,981 US dollars per ton (2.5 times higher than the average export price) and the United States at a price of 3,286 US dollars per ton (2.1 times higher). The most competitive price was fixed for supplies from Egypt — US$ 1,033 per ton (34.7% lower than the average price), Kuwait — US$ 1,070 (32.4% lower) and Pakistan — US$ 1,116 (29.4% lower).

The increase in the country's urban population stimulates the demand for semi-finished products,. As disposable incomes rise, more and more Saudis are buying ready-to-eat meals, such as pasta, for lunch or dinner at home. At the same time, against the background of increasing working hours, the demand for instant noodles is also growing, especially popular among migrant workers working in the country. Pasta is popular among both the indigenous people of Saudi Arabia and expats, primarily due to the convenience of storage and the popularity of cuisines in which pasta and noodles are the basis of many dishes. Sales of these products increased markedly during the COVID-19 period and continued to grow after the lifting of epidemiological restrictions as foreign workers returned to the country.

Demand from young consumers has played a key role in increasing noodle consumption in Saudi Arabia in recent years, as the younger generation is often more familiar with global culinary trends, as well as more inclined to try dishes traditional to other regions. So, Asian cuisine is currently very popular among Saudi youth.

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