Pasta – Couscous Market in Morocco

13 February 20196 min reading

“Affected by the Western Life Style, more and more Moroccan consume rice, pasta, and noodle. Market players do not turn blind eye to this growing tendency. Having more than thirty five people and being among ten biggest African economies, Morocco has imported dry or stuffed fresh pasta and couscous valued around USD 18 million. As Italian restaurants whose number has grown every day offer different type of pasta, this reality pushes Moroccans to taste different pasta in their houses. Thus, this increases the demand for pasta import.”

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Having coast to the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, Morocco is a bridge trade with West African countries with its strategic location. Morocco is moving towards becoming a regional hub for transport, logistics, production and sales in the north and west of Africa and the sub-Saharan region. The country has duty-free access to fifty-five countries in which more than one billion consumers live. Moreover, Morocco has increased its productivity in the agricultural sector over the last few years. It aims to shift from fragmented production to more integrated value chains. Being situated in the west in the North Africa known as Maghrib, it has a strategic location. The Gibraltor Bay parts the country from the European continent. The shortest distance between the two continents is about fifteen kilometers. Affected by Arab, Barbary, Europe, and Africa culture, Morocco is ruled by its rulers although it was under the Ottoman sovereignty. The country remained under French control between 1912 and 1956.

Having more than thirty five people, Morocco is the tenth biggest economy in the Middle East and Europe. As a developing nation, Morocco is expected to grow 5.7 percent annually in 2020 and afterwards. Moroccan rulers aim to increase the economic performance through improving the business environment, strengthening the middle class, and promoting competitiveness.

Sixty percent of Moroccan population lives in cities. The national income per capita in the country with a gross domestic product of USD 300 billion is around USD 8 thousand 600. The diversity in the free market-oriented economy (thirteen percent in agriculture, twenty-nine percent in industry, and fifty-eight percent in the service sector) is in good condition. Thanks to the reforms implemented by the government, there is low inflation and stable growth. Having political stability, Morocco is more secure than its neighbors. The country has the potential of being a trade bridge with Western African countries. According to Euromonitor, an independent marketing company, Moroccan costumers have made more discretionary spending compared to their neighbors; however, this spending level is very behind comparing the international average. The customer spending is expected to have a health growth until 2030, which is considered to provide more opportunities in agricultural food products. In Morocco, agricultural production is mostly based on wheat, sugar beet, oranges, tomatoes, potatoes, olives, and olive oil. The country is self-sufficient in many products and exports grain, sugar, coffee, and tea. 40 percent of grain consumed in Morocco is imported. Wheat consumption is growing every year. While the country consumed around seven million tons of wheat ten years ago, this figure is estimated to exceed ten million tons this year. The country, which imported 4 million 800 thousand tons of wheat in the 2017/2018 season, is expected to make imports at the same levels in the new season. Morocco has to import wheat to meet the domestic demand. The country prefers European Union and the Black Sea countries for soft wheat and Canada for durum wheat.

EFFECT OF ITALIAN CULTURE Affected by the western life style, more and more Moroccan consume rice, pasta, and noodle. Market players do not miss this growing tendency. Having more than thirty five people and being among ten biggest African economies, Morocco has imported dry or stuffed fresh pasta and couscous valued around USD18 million. As big companies that dominate the country’s market export some of their special products-that’s why there is small export in the sector.

Pasta is becoming more popular every day in the country. The reason behind this tendency is the fact that Moroccans try to cook different type of pasta that offered in Italian restaurants whose number has increased every day. Meanwhile, noddle is losing its popularity in Morocco. The lack of innovation and entrance of new tastes have come to a standstill in the market volume of noddle sales. The competition for rice, pasta, and noodles in Morocco remained largely unchanged in 2018. The main reason for this is that the three leading companies in the sector maintain their rank and value shares due to their strong financial standing against other small companies and private brands.

According to Euromonitor’s data, rice, pasta, and couscous market reached sixty-five million tons in 2018 in Morocco. This figure is expected to exceed seventy-nine million tons in 2021. The rice, pasta, and couscous market was USD 294 million in 2016 and reached USD 368 million. The market is estimated to reach USD 464 million in 2021.

Pasta imports in Morocco were USD 9.1 million in 2009 and reached USD 18 million today. It is possible for foreign pasta producers to export different types of pasta to the country. In addition to pasta, couscous, and semolina, which usually served with meat in a stew, are among the national dishes of Morocco. Moroccan couscous is rather different from Turkish couscous in terms of taste and appearance. Its piece is smaller. It is being readied for cooking after refined with corn, barley, and other grains particularly wheat and semolina flour. There are three different sizes of couscous. The finest (in the size of semolina) is the most accepted one. While cooking couscous, Meat, chicken pieces or various vegetables can also be added. However, meat and vegetables are not preferred for couscous in dinners.

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DUTY-FREE ACCESS TO ONE BILLION PEOPLE In order to meet the demand for infrastructure in the country, 15 billion dollars were spent on transportation infrastructure between 2010 and 2015; highways, ports, and other transportation projects were implemented. The infrastructure investments and having strategic location in the Gibraltar Bay supported the comprehensive economic development plan that foresaw the country becoming a central hub in transport, logistics, assembly, production, and sales sectors for Western and Northern Africa and Sub-Sahara region. The trade hub position of the country has strengthened with its trade agreements with Basra Gulf, the Mediterranean, and African nations along with the United States and European Union countries.

Morocco has duty-free access to fifty-five countries with over one billion consumers and sixty percent of the global gross national product. Thanks to its strategic location, efficient and safe airport, Casablanca, the commercial capital of the country, is home to the regional centers of international companies.

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