The almost-insatiable demand for food in Egypt was evident when the Bord Bia Irish Trade Mission delegation landed in Cairo yesterday.

A visit by the delegation to French giant retailer Carrefour highlighted the increasing demand for soft cheeses, cheddar and all sorts of dairy and meat products demanded by a very enthusiastic, young and growing population.

European products

Irish and European product was evident in all sections of the giant store. While the Egyptian consumer is very discerning for homemade products, they will consume large quantities of imported products if a price promotion is part of the deal.

Bumper sales last night were part of a 17th anniversary promotion for Carrefour.

Shoppers jammed into the Cairo Carrefour shopping centre at 9pm at night queuing for cheese and vegetables.

The store manager said: "Any type of promotion will drive significant sales. It's part of the Egyptian way of life. If you think this demand is high you should be here before and during Ramadan (mid-April to mid-May 2020) we simply have to push people out of the store at 2am."

The challenge for Ireland and other food suppliers is retaining a margin in a business where scale is king.

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