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Healthy bread and Frikeh competes with traditional Arabic bread

4-12-2017

In a special feature on the consumption of the traditional Lebanese Arabic bread, L’Orient Le Jour said that notwithstanding its control of the local market, the Lebanese taste has changed since 2012 driven by a general trend of healthy foodies. To recall, the Lebanese people spend around USD 23.5 million on bread each month, which is quite high, according to the September issue of BLOM Invest. The latter has shown that small bakeries in the neighborhoods which provide healthy and fresh breads now represent nearly half the market, noting the relatively costly prices (500 g of healthy bread is sold between USD 5-6 compared to a USD 1 for a regular bread pack weighing 900 g. On the subject, the owners of healthy bread bakeries complained that the giant bread producers have started to compete with them in their own healthy whole wheat brands, stressing that the quality of flour and additives used in traditional bakeries is not the least healthy. On the other hand, L’Orient Le Jour drew attention to the ‘Frikeh’ product made from green wheat grain, and contains less energy than wheat, that is starting to dominate the list of healthy goodies, pointing to the USAID-funded Lebanon Industry Value Chain Development (LIVCD) Project aimed at enhancing the production of a number of products, including Frikeh. In this respect, the newspaper wrote that two years from the onset of the project, there are currently some 10 coops producing the Frikeh, posting an increase in annual production from 757 kg in 2015 to 20 tons this year. The sales of the product which did not exceed USD 4,000 in 2015 has presently reached USD 80,200. Charbel Hanna, the LIVCD coordinator, described the sector as promising, and employs 171 persons, 72 of which are women. (L’Orient Le Jour, November 27, 29, 2017)

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