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Why European Consumers Love Medjool Dates

By Taarek Hinedi | December 23, 2023

This Middle Eastern delicacy is gaining popularity among Europeans. Here’s everything you need to know about this consumer trend, including tips on shipping Medjool dates to Europe.

The allure of Middle Eastern cuisine, with its rich flavors and exotic ingredients, has captivated European palates for centuries.

Today, an enthusiastic knowledge of the culinary traditions of the region exists among European consumers, who shop for Middle Eastern spices such as za’atar and sumac for their at-home recipes. Europeans are also exposed to many of the region’s dishes when they go out to eat, from shakshuka at brunch to falafel, tagine, and baklava at dinner.

It's no surprise that many star products from Middle Eastern cuisine are being exported in greater quantities. One recent trend is the rising demand for Medjool dates.
Some Medjool dates placing on the table

The rising demand for Medjool dates in Europe

This culinary trend is more than a gastronomic journey; it reflects a deepening trade connection between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the European Union (EU). Enabled by a strong logistics network, it’s now even easier for European consumers to savor the sweet delights of Middle Eastern dates.

The EU is the second biggest trade partner in goods of the GCC, representing 11.3% of its total trade in goods with the world in 2022. Exporting dates from the GCC to the EU is a great example of trade between the two regions and the role logistics plays in keeping goods moving.

RELATED: The European market is waiting for you

Dates are nature’s candy and are becoming a staple food in a healthy diet. The European market for dates is expected to grow by 7-10% annually in the next five years.

The goal for date producers in the GCC is to achieve three key objectives: build credibility and trust with European customers, ensure the quality and shelf life of dates during shipping, and expand their business and global presence.

This aims to make their product easily available to a booming market and give people a taste of Middle Eastern culture.

What to know about shipping dates to Europe

Meeting all three objectives requires date producers to build credibility and trust with their customers, and adhere to the quality standards and requirements set by the EU for shipping dates.

For example, it’s important that dried dates are stored between 4 °C and 10 °C during transportation, to maintain their quality and shelf life, especially when it comes to varieties like Deglet Nour dates.

RELATED: How to ship temperature-sensitive items

In the past, the only available packaging option for temperature-sensitive food products was in styrofoam boxes. Thanks to innovative temperature-controlled packaging solutions, date farmers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers can ship with greater confidence and ensure that their product will arrive in top quality.
Customer shopping in a grocery store aisle

How to ship perishables

Understanding the nuances of shipping perishables is also key in today's global trade. At FedEx, we provide advanced solutions for temperature-sensitive shipments, ensuring that products like dates and exotic spices retain their quality from origin to destination.

With our cold shipping packaging and monitoring technologies, we ensure that these delicate goods meet the strictest quality standards, maintaining freshness and flavor.

RELATED: A comprehensive guide to perishable shipments

Enhancing business and cultural ties through logistics

By building stronger transport connectivity between the GCC and the EU, the logistics industry has created more business opportunities for the local economy on both sides.

Small businesses involved in packing, distribution, and wholesale commerce work with logistics companies to address potential barriers to trade, collaborate with peers, and plan their expansion to move their goods across continents.

With innovative shipping services, products, and use of digital logistics services, Europe is now closer than ever for businesses in the GCC.

Making trade easier helps businesses build stronger ties with their global customers and boosts local economies. By working hand in hand with SMEs and exporters, we continue to open doors for consumers to enjoy products and experiences from around the world.

To find out how FedEx can help solve your unique logistics needs, head here. Ready to ship with FedEx? Open an account now and unlock FedEx shipping discounts.

A version of this article first appeared in Arabian Business on December 9, 2021
About the Author
the author bio

Taarek Hinedi

Vice President,
Middle East and Africa Operations, FedEx Express

Taarek is responsible for the air and ground operations in the Middle East and Africa region. Having previously spent 12 years as Managing Director, FedEx Express in India and a key member of the Express Industry Council of India (EICI), he has been instrumental in representing the Indian logistics and express industries. Taarek is now based in Dubai.

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