Registration of Food Products in Dubai

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Registration of food products in Dubai is a mandatory procedure for import. If you plan to sell products in the local market, use them for food preparation in catering establishments, or for takeaway, you need to follow all bureaucratic procedures and obtain the necessary permits.

Food Market in Dubai

The economy of the UAE is the most diversified in the Middle East. However, the majority of food products available in the local market are imported (86% of total consumption). Other characteristics of the food industry in the UAE include:

  • Weak development of factories. This issue is actively being addressed, but there are still opportunities for entrepreneurs to launch promising food production.
  • Low technical equipment of agricultural enterprises, lack of qualified personnel in agronomy, animal husbandry, shortage of skilled technologists, and other specialists.
  • Shortage of suitable land for agriculture and water resources for irrigation of arable land.
  • Large amounts of food waste. Overbuying is a global trend.
  • Lack of investment in research projects and technology development in the food industry, as entrepreneurs' attention is focused on other sectors such as fintech, medtech, and IT.

The main products exported include dates and camel milk. In Abu Dhabi, there are seafood and meat processing plants. UAE factories also produce canned vegetables and fruits, confectionery and bakery products. There are several local manufacturers of spices, dried fruits, nuts, carbonated beverages, tea, and coffee.

The United Arab Emirates is a global trade hub and a transit point for goods destined for further distribution in the Middle East and North Africa. Major global manufacturers are increasingly using the UAE as a base for their presence in the food sector of the Persian Gulf.

Requirements for Importing Food Products into the UAE

By 2025, it is expected that the consumption of food products in the UAE will increase to 59 million tons. The local industrial base is capable of meeting only 10% of the local demand, so products are mainly imported from abroad.

To import products into Dubai, it is necessary to register a company and have a valid trade license (type of activity: Foodstuff Trading / General Trading), which needs to be renewed annually.

The main types of food product certification in the UAE are:

Halal: Required for products of animal origin. In July 2023, the Russian Certification Center received GAC accreditation, so the Halal certificate is recognized in the UAE (as well as in the Gulf countries). The UAE also accepts international certificates under the GSO 2055 standard.

CoC (Certificate of Conformity): This certificate confirms compliance with quality standards accepted in the UAE. The document is issued by ESMA - the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology.

Labeling: Rules are determined by the relevant regulator. It is necessary to check the packaging requirements and the format of expiry date indication, ensure that there are no prohibited ingredients in the products, and translate the main information into Arabic and English.

Phytosanitary control: The certificate is issued by the country of origin of the product. In Russia, it can be obtained through the FGIS "Argus-Phyto" or "My Export" platform. Additionally, a Health Certificate is required, which is issued by the Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance according to the UAE form.

Food products must undergo registration with the Dubai Municipality.

In addition to certification, it is necessary to collect a package of documents. The basic list includes:

Recording of temperature regime during transportation if the products are transported in refrigerators in chilled or frozen form.

Packing list indicating the types and quantity of products, loading date, production dates, and expiry dates.

Waybill / customs declaration.

Other documents and certificates confirming the labels on the packaging: Organic, GMO Free, Gluten Free.

Launching and Managing a Food & Beverage Business

To sell products on the domestic market, it is necessary to register a local business. It is necessary to take into account the requirements that UAE government agencies impose on opening and running your specific type of business. If additional control is expected (such as for dealing with food products), it will be necessary to meet the requirements of the relevant authorities.

To save time and enter the market as quickly as possible, turn to experts at The Level Consulting. We provide turnkey business registration services, help open a bank account, obtain a license and all necessary documents, provide informational and legal support, and also help register food products with the Dubai Municipality. We will help you navigate through all bureaucratic procedures quickly and with minimal client presence.

After company registration, you need to open a bank account, register with the tax authorities, and officially employ workers. For all products to be sold in the UAE, permission for import and certificates are required. Organic products require additional testing. Additionally, any vehicle used for product delivery must also undergo inspection.

If you do not plan to sell products on the domestic market, consider the Food Tech Valley sector in Dubai. It is a free economic zone that includes an intellectual logistics center, research centers, engineering laboratories, and agricultural technology laboratories. Strategic projects for ensuring regional food security while conserving resources are being implemented in the free economic zone.

Investing in the development of the Food & Beverage sector in the UAE is very profitable. You can engage in production and sales or develop innovative projects in Food Tech Valley. Considering the consistently growing demand for all groups of products, the food market in the UAE is objectively considered very promising.

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