Ingredient Focus: Dairy

Go behind the scenes of the region’s dairy industry

Industry experts reveal the latest news, products, and insights into the Middle East’s dairy sector



Ingredion has added three functional potato starches to its processed cheese ingredient portfolio, giving the food industry greater functionality and choice. CheeseApp 50, 70 and 80 enable recipe cost savings in analogue block and block processed cheeses while delivering the appealing texture and sensory qualities consumers crave.

With the addition of the three CheeseApp starches, food producers can improve the meltability, firmness and gratability of analogue block and block processed cheeses for applications including pizza toppings, processed cheese slices and individually wrapped slices.

Available in the Middle East, the CheeseApp range is also suitable for vegan and vegetarian cheeses, enabling manufacturers to tap into new and growing consumer trends.

T: +971 44 53 42 88

Cheese Box

Chef Middle East has welcomed the launch of the cheese box with an assortment of 10 to 12 variants of speciality cheeses. The cheese box includes cheeses such as Pont L’Eveque, Fourme D’Ambert, Camembert de Normandie, Sainte Maure De Touraine, and Epoisse Le Saint Germain to name a few.

Chef Middle East
T: +971 4 8159 888


With a healthy compound annual growth rate, the Middle East and Africa’s dairy market is expected to reach US$21.7 billion by 2023, and annual sales in the region surpassed seven billion kilograms in 2017.

It has encouraged dairy brands in the region to expand their offerings, widening the choice available to consumers and bringing experimental products to the fore.

At Chef Middle East, a range of vegan cheeses are being introduced soon to cater for the rapidly expanding plant-based demographic, while Irish milk supplier Clara Fields is looking at bringing products like its Reduced Sugar Dulce de Leche to market to fit in with current health conscious trends.

Chef Middle East dairy & culinary category manager Jiji Matthews said: “The trends depend on the type of customers and quality they want to offer. However, in the high-end dining outlets, there is an increased demand for artisanal cheeses and every customer is looking at serving something different. We also see a surge in flavoured cheeses including some flavours such as lavender, truffle, sriracha, cranberries, sage etc. In addition, there is a growing demand for vegan, organic and lactose-free cheese options.”

As it looks to release more healthy products, Clara Fields is increasing its sustainability outlook. Managing director Tommy Hogan said: “Health trends are becoming more prevalent with consumers more conscious of sugar and fat content.  In addition, consumers a concerned for animal welfare and the environmental impact dairy farming has.  This is where our Origin Green program gives consumers assurances that all of our ingredients and our processes are sustainable and responsible.”

It’s not an entirely rosy outlook, admits Matthews, who highlights a few issues that the Middle East has in particular.

“The biggest problem has been the availability of raw milk and the prices that are volatile. Another challenge the industry is facing is in fake/misleading labelling practices by some producers, mostly related to protected cheese names that must come from a specific geographic area. However, one of the main challenges in the Middle East is the local production, where the availability is limited to very few products and the majority is still imported.”

The launch of Mazoon Dairy Company in Oman in February is one response to the limited availability of raw milk in the region. With the introduction of 1,600 cows from Australia, it is now making a concerted effort to increased production in the region – with over 8,000 cows expecting to be imported by 2020.

The aim is to produce 200 million litres of milk annually by 2026, rising to over 900 million by 2040, which would make a significant impact in the sector.

Local knowledge and awareness will be pivotal to ensuring this happens.


Ingredion has extended its virtual lab, Inside Idea Labs in EMEA, to the dairy market, bringing its application expertise in dairy product formulation to its customers 24/7.

The virtual dairy lab showcases technical resources including sample formulations, white papers and responses to questions that customers frequently ask about topics such as formulating clean label dairy products, reducing protein and removing fat. Visitors will also find information about consumer and market trends driving change in the dairy industry, as well as insights from experts working throughout Ingredion’s network of Idea Labs innovation centres.

The interactive online portal which includes consumer insights, expert advice and tested recipes, gives customers everywhere access to Ingredion’s science-based problem solving developed at the company’s 28 Idea Labs innovation centres.

Charlotte Commarmond, senior director, marketing and innovation, EMEA at Ingredion, said; “Our customers, as well as consumers, are increasingly digitally savvy and the use of digital technologies to source information on products is on the rise. As speed-to-market becomes increasingly important, especially for small to-medium-sized-manufacturers responding quickly to the latest consumer trends, online product development support needs to be available, on-demand, 24/7.

“Our region-specific virtual labs give our customers everywhere timely access to consumer trends, regulatory guidance and sample formulations that reflect the needs of their local market.

“This new lab means dairy manufacturers can learn directly from our experts at the company’s brick-and-mortar labs around the world. They can access expertise on a range of topics, from selecting the right clean label ingredient for their yoghurts to reducing the protein content of their analogue cheeses.”

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