Date Palm is a flowering plant species and cultivated for its edible sweet fruit. Its fruit is known as a Date. It is a soft fruit with a warm golden red color similar to that of the sun. Dates are an important traditional crop in Iraq, Arabia, and North Africa west to Morocco. Date palms can take 4 to 8 years after planting before bearing the fruit. A large number of various date cultivators are grown. Major date producers in the world include Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and others. Date provides a wide range of essential nutrients and is a very good source of dietary potassium. The sugar content of ripped date is about 80%.
The global date palm market is rapidly changing due to changing demands, preferences, and spending patterns of the consumers. The largest share is of Medjool date palm which is one of the widely consumed variety globally.
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Date Palm market can be segmented on the basis of varieties, nature, form, end use, distribution channel, packaging type and region.
On the basis of varieties, Date Palm market can be segmented into Barhi, Dabbas, Shishi, Khallas, Fard, Khanezi, Baumann, Sayer, and Medjool. The widely consumed variety is Medjool globally.
On the basis of nature, Date Palm market can be segmented into organic and conventional.
On basis of form, Date Palm market can be segmented into the whole (eaten raw), chopped and stuffed form. The chopped form is further used as a sweet snack or an ingredient to add to cereals, snack bars etc. and the stuffed form with nuts, walnuts, and almonds.
On the basis of end use, Date Palm market can be segmented into household use and the commercial use in the processing of dates into syrups/ molasses, paste, sugar etc.
On the basis of the distribution channel, Date Palm market can be segmented into direct and retail sales. Direct sales refer to direct selling of Date Palm as an ingredient to other industries. Retail sales are further segmented into hypermarket/supermarket, convenience stores, grocery stores, online retailers, and other retailing formats.
On the basis of packaging type, Date Palm market can be segmented into vacuum packs/zipper pouches, flexible thermos packs, and the cartons& boxes.
Drivers, Restraints, and Trends:
The global date palm is changing due to changing consumer demands and buying patterns. Due to increasing health-conscious consumers globally, the date palm market is impacted positively and is expected to grow the market in the projected period. It is a good source of energy, sugar, and fiber. Essential minerals such as Calcium, iron, phosphorous, sodium, potassium, magnesium and zinc are found in them. They are also rich in several vitamins.
Increasing use of date palm in ethnic snacks is driving the market globally. Chopped dates make a sweet snack or as a key ingredient to add to cereal, oatmeals, muffins, snack bars, puddings. As a high fiber content often used as an ingredient to enrich the cereals such as cornflakes and muesli.
The major challenge faced in the date palm market is the low yield due to fungal diseases and pest in the date palm plantation. Hence, leading to the shortage of quality date palms in the market and hampering the market growth.
Increasing demand for organic dates and its use in a processed form is a growing trend among various consumers and manufacturers globally.
The date fruit is produced largely in hot arid regions of South West Asia and North Africa and is marketed all over the world as a high-value confectionary and fruit crop. The major date producers are situated in the Middle East and North Africa. Egypt is the world leader in date production and cultivation.
European countries like France, Germany, the U.K. and Italy import much more expensive and higher quality dates. The market for desert dates, either fresh, chilled or frozen is the fastest growing segment in the U.K. Pitted dried dates for processing and home baking accounts a major share in the market. Dates are eaten mainly at the end of the year, particularly at Christmas time, in all European countries. Outside this period, consumption is low. Hence it is a seasonal product. But when further processed as an ingredient in other ready to breakfast cereals it is consumed as a good source of dietary fiber.
In contrast, the countries such as India, the UAE, and Malaysia import much cheaper and lower quality dates. The low quality is used further for processing in various baked food products.
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Some of the prominent players of Date Palm are Al Barakah Dates Factory, SUFFCO, Atul Rajasthan Date Palm Ltd., Gurra Downs Date Company Pty Ltd., AlFoah (Date Crown) and various other regional manufacturers.