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Commodity Innovation Series – Snapshot of opportunities in the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) pulse sector

Canada is the world’s largest supplier of pulses, worth US$2.79 billion in 2016.

Market trends

  • Pulses are an important part of daily diets due to their protein-rich content, fibre and other essential minerals, which contributed to growth in their consumption.
  • Pulses are regarded as cheaper protein alternatives and will remain to be so as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) governments impose price caps to prevent manufacturers from increasing prices regularly.
  • Pulses are used in a variety of Asian and Middle Eastern dishes. More value added processed products now contain pulses as the main ingredient, in substitution of other less healthy options.


  • Data available for GCC includes statistics on UAE and Saudi Arabia only.
  • GCC countries are: UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, and Qatar.

Pulses in numbers

Pulses in bulk

Top suppliers of pulses to the GCC in US$
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Country Supply (US$) Share (%)
Canada 189M 44
Australia 77M 18
India 35M 8
Turkey 20M 5
Egypt 14M 3
Other 95M 22
UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait had the largest total volume market sizes in the GCC in 2016 in 000’ tonnes
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Country Volume (000’ tonnes)
United Arab Emirates 235.80
Saudi Arabia 93.10
Kuwait 17.80

Pulses used as an ingredient

Top companies launching the most pulse-containing products in the GCC
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Company Number of products
Panda 4
Gulf Food Industries 3
Lozano 3
Halwani & Tahhan Food 3
National Food Industries 3

There is a growing emphasis on ‘ease of use’ claims.

Top 5 Growing Claims

  1. Ease of use
  2. No additives/preservatives
  3. Halal
  4. Vegetarian
  5. Premium

Top 5 Declining Claims

  1. GMO free
  2. High/Added Fiber
  3. Low/No/Reduced Cholesterol
  4. Ethical - Environmentally Friendly Package
  5. Economy

New packaging made up 16% of product launches containing pulses.

Top Package Types

  1. Can
  2. Jar
  3. Flexible
  4. Flexible stand-up pouch
  5. Flexible sachet

Top Packaged Materials

  1. Metal steel
  2. Glass plain
  3. Plastic unspecified
  4. Multi laminate
  5. Metallised Film

Top innovative markets for pulses in the GCC

Saudi Arabia was the most innovative market in the GCC for pulses with chickpeas being the top ingredient used in their products

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Innovation Criteria South Africa Egypt Israel Saudi Arabia Nigeria UAE Morocco Iran
Relaunch 3 2 1 5 1 2 2 2
New product 18 19 20 17 20 19 19 19
Product line diversity 14 7 9 6 4 5 3 4
Health & wellness claims 17 14 9 6 5 4 5 2
Rating scale: Excellent (20-17), Very good (16-13), Good (12-9), Fair (8-5), Low (4-0)

Factors of consideration

Recommendation for entry

How we can help

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