Dubai’s Foodstuff Trading Industry: How to Enter and Succeed

  • June 15, 2023

Dubai is known for its diverse and rapidly growing economy, which has opened doors for many entrepreneurs looking to set up a business in the region. One of the most thriving sectors in Dubai is the food industry, with a growing demand for high-quality food products from both the local and international market. Therefore, setting up a foodstuff trading business in Dubai could be a lucrative and rewarding venture.


However, like any other business, setting up a foodstuff trading business in Dubai requires thorough research, planning, and execution. In this blog post, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to set up a foodstuff trading business in Dubai, including information that others might not know and would be useful to entrepreneurs.


Conduct Market Research

Before starting any business, it is important to conduct extensive market research to determine the viability of your business idea. This research will help you understand the local market and the demand for food products in Dubai. You can carry out this research by speaking to experts, attending trade shows, and analysing industry reports.

Choose a Business Activity

The next step is to choose your business activity. In Dubai, foodstuff trading falls under the category of commercial trading activities. You can either choose to set up a trading company, a foodstuff import/export company, or a distribution company. Each of these activities has its own requirements and regulations that you need to consider before making a decision.

Register Your Business

Once you have decided on the business activity, the next step is to register your business. You will need to apply for a trade licence with the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai. The application process can be done online, and you will be required to provide information such as your business activity, the type of business entity, and the proposed business name.

Choose a Company Structure

In Dubai, you can choose from several types of company structures, including sole proprietorship, partnership, and limited liability company (LLC). The LLC is the most common type of company structure for foreign investors. It offers limited liability protection, requires a minimum of two shareholders, and has a minimum capital requirement of AED 300,000.

Obtain Necessary Permits

To operate a foodstuff trading business in Dubai, you will need to obtain several permits from the relevant authorities. These permits include a foodstuff trading permit from the Dubai Municipality and an import/export permit from the Dubai Customs. You will also need to obtain a health and safety permit from the Dubai Health Authority and a halal certification from the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology.

Choose a Location

Choosing the right location for your business is crucial. You should choose a location that is easily accessible, has good transport links, and is close to your target market. Dubai offers several free zones that provide a range of benefits to investors, including 100% foreign ownership, tax exemptions, and customs duty exemptions. Some of the popular free zones for foodstuff trading businesses include Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, and Dubai South.

Hire Employees

Depending on the size of your business, you may need to hire employees. In Dubai, employers are required to provide health insurance and sponsor work visas for their employees. You will also need to provide your employees with a labor contract, which outlines their rights and responsibilities.

Understand the Regulations

As a foodstuff trading business in Dubai, you must comply with several regulations. These regulations cover areas such as food labelling, storage, and transportation. You will need to ensure that your products meet the local standards and regulations set by the authorities.

Establish a Supply Chain

To run a successful foodstuff trading business in Dubai, you need to establish a reliable supply chain. This chain should include suppliers who can provide you with high-quality products at a competitive price. You should also have a robust distribution network that can deliver your products to your customers on time and in the right condition.

Build Your Brand

Finally, building your brand is crucial to the success of your foodstuff trading business in Dubai. You should invest in marketing and advertising to create brand awareness and attract customers. You should also focus on building a strong online presence by creating a website and social media pages.


To sum up, establishing a foodstuff trading business in Dubai can yield significant profits provided that it is executed effectively. It requires thorough research, planning, and execution. By following the steps outlined above and seeking professional advice, you can successfully set up and operate a foodstuff trading business in Dubai.


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