The total rice consumption is expected to increase by about 2% to 1.1 million in 2018/19 - Foodex Saudi
Rice is a staple food in Saudi Arabia that is served for lunch and dinner. A traditional dish called kabsah is widely consumed in Saudi homes. The majority of Saudis include rice as a major part of their daily diet. Most of the 12 million expatriates living in Saudi Arabia (from the Indian subcontinent and other Asian countries) are also large consumers of rice.
Saudi Arabia’s rice per capita consumption is estimated at 35 kg/year. For MY2017/18, total rice consumption is estimated at 1 million MT. The total rice consumption is expected to increase by about 2 percent to 1.1 million in MY 2018/19 due to mainly an increase in foreign visitors to Makkah to perform the hajj and umrah rituals. In the past five years, the total number of visitors who came to Saudi Arabia to perform hajj and umrah has increased by 50 percent to 12 million visitors since last year, 2017. The Saudi government expects the number to reach 15 million by the end of 2020 as massive expansion projects at the two holy mosques in Makkah and Medina, as well as other infrastructure projects, are completed. As such, rice consumption is forecast to increase significantly in the next few years.
Basmati (aromatic rice from the Indian subcontinent) is the most popular rice variety in the Saudi market. The American long-parboiled and medium-grain Calrose rice varieties are well known, but Saudi consumers’ preference for these varieties has shifted to basmati varieties. While Indian basmati rice is mostly consumed in the eastern, central and western regions of Saudi Arabia, American rice is popular in the southern region of the Kingdom, and is also very popular in restaurants that prepare kabsah dishes.
Source: GAIN Report