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Egypt: Lettuce and sweet potatoes taking over the gulf and Europe

Iceberg lettuce is one of the more popular varieties of lettuce in the world. You will see it in most groceries and supermarkets. A lot of the big fast-food chains such as McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC use this variety. 

Alex Farm Trade is an exporter from Egypt that exports iceberg lettuce to Europe and the Gulf countries. Its clients are mainly companies supplying fresh cut lettuce to fast-food chains such as McDonald’s. 

According to Hazem El Hawary, General Manager of Alex Farm Trade in Egypt, “Our Company supplies the iceberg lettuce for fast-food chains in the Gulf region and Eastern Europe, specifically in countries such as Saudi, Dubai, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Ukraine and Belarus. The season for lettuce is between November and May. And during this time the only competition that our company experiences come from Turkey and Spain, but our lettuce is known to be cheaper yet have good quality.”

Due to the increased expansion of fast-food chains in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, the demand for iceberg lettuce has been increasing. “We’ve seen our demand in Eastern Europe increase from 1 container to around 3-4 containers per week (50 tons). In the Middle East our volumes are also big; demand is now at 120 – 150 tons per months," says El Hawary.

Alex Farm trade not only exports of iceberg lettuce, but it also exports sweet potatoes. Three different varieties are being exported: white flesh, red flesh and orange flesh potatoes. “Export markets for our sweet potatoes are slightly different than our iceberg lettuce. It is typically sold in markets such as England, Italy, the Gulf countries and Maldives."

Southern Europe also produces sweet potatoes. But it usually happens during winter time. Despite Egypt having to pay more for transportation costs to Europe, the country is able to capitalize on its sweet potato season, which does not coincide with the European season. 

For more information:
Hazem El Hawary
Alex Farm Trade (Egypt)
Tel.:+2 03 39 39 287
Mob. +2 011 208 66 660

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