The Organic Foods and Cafe near oasis Center, Dubai. Image Credit: Antonin Kelian Kallouche/Gulf News

Dubai: The appetite for organic foods is growing in the UAE, with 38 per cent of consumers purchasing more organic produce in the last 12 months compared to the previous year, according to a new survey.

The survey, conducted by YouGov and commissioned by Arla Foods, a manufacturer of organic dairy products, also revealed that 61 per cent of UAE consumers purchase organic foods more than once a month.

The research was conducted by a YouGov omnibus survey, with a sample size of 1,000 respondents in the UAE during February. The findings were revealed on Wednesday, days before International Organic Day on September 22.

Survey participants cited that the leading driver of this trend is health reasons (59 per cent). Also, 57 per cent of consumers believe organic food is healthy, more natural (50 per cent) and safer for consumption (47 per cent) when compared to non-organic food.

Ethical food choices also have a strong influence on consumers’ attitudes, with 21 per cent of respondents saying that the main reason they buy organic is concern for the environment; 12.5 per cent cited animal welfare.

Of the 17 per cent of consumers that never purchase organic, price is the biggest barrier cited by almost half (49 per cent) of respondents. Also, 46 per cent of consumers are simply not in the habit of purchasing organic food. This may be attributed to the fact that one in four do not believe there are any added benefits to it and that there is limited availability in stores (14 per cent).

Ann-Camilla Kjaempe, category director at Arla Foods, said: “The organic food segment is gathering pace in the UAE, bolstered by consumers’ growing interest in health and wellness. Consumers are increasingly looking out for more natural foods, as we have seen from the first few months of our launch. The research also indicates that consumers support animal welfare and environmental concerns and consider these as attractive attributes that influence their purchasing decisions. We are proud to say that all Arla dairy products are produced to the highest standards and with respect to the environment and welfare of animals.”