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$15-TRILLION MARKET IN SPOTLIGHT

Dubai food expo to draw over 5,000 firms, record turnout

DUBAI, February 20, 2016

More than 5,000 companies from over 120 countries will be showcasing their food and beverage products and services at 'Gulfood 2016,' one of the world’s leading food trading platforms - which celebrates its 21st edition at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) with a record exhibitor and pavilion line-up delivering more tastes, more trends and more trade.

'Gulfood 2016, ' a massive B2B showcase aims to deliver more tastes, more trends and more trade when it opens its doors in Dubai tomorrow (February 21).

Running until February 25 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, the show marks a coming-of-age for Gulfood, a multi-channel event which includes the third edition of Halal World Food.

Now the globe’s biggest annual Halal food sourcing trade event - it will feature 5,000 international companies from 120 countries and 117 trade and industry pavilions.

The exhibitor line-up includes finished food producers, bulk commodity wholesalers, distributors and exporters, and the show’s largest-ever collection of hospitality equipment suppliers.

The 5,000-plus companies will occupy in excess of 1.29 million sq ft of world-class, multi-functional indoor exhibition space including two purpose-built, temporary structures and expanded indoor exhibition space across three new DWTC halls.

On the event, Trixie LohMirmand, the senior VP at Exhibitions & Events Management, DWTC, said: "The rise of Gulfood is down to a number of key factors including Dubai’s global standing as an import and re-export hub, the emirate’s growing sea-air transport links expanding its geographic trading footprint and the strategic importance placed on the domestic and regional tourism and hospitality industries."

“Multiply these drivers by rapid population growth, food security concerns and the growth in food manufacturing and processing in the UAE, the wider region and emerging countries for which Dubai is now a sourcing hub and you understand why Gulfood is now internationally-recognised as the strategic trading platform for the global food industry,” stated LohMirmand.

With a recent pipeline report from benchmarking index STR Global identifying some 538 hotels are under construction in the Middle East and another 321 are under contract in Africa, the record response to Gulfood mirrors the widespread investment in the hotel and hospitality industries that are driving regional states’ economic diversification policies.

Continuing its evolved status as a weathervane to hospitality and food sector trends, Gulfood 2016 features a raft of new exhibitors, expanded participation by returnees and a wealth of new-to-market products.

“For the retail, foodservice, catering and hospitality industries, Gulfood presents an incredible sourcing opportunity with hundreds of new product launches, innovations in health and special diet, and an even wider range of ethnic and speciality foods,” remarked LohMirmand.

“For the wholesale, food import and export buyers, the multi-million dollar transactions made at Gulfood will set pricing benchmarks throughout 2016. This is why market-makers and the biggest traders from around the world attend Gulfood - it’s where the big deals are made, company to company and country to country,” She added.

According to her, the importance of Gulfood as a global trading platform is demonstrated by the 117 national and food export industry groups attending this year’s event.

These pavilions include first-time representation from Russia, Costa Rica, Belarus, Mauritius and New Zealand returning after a six-year break.

Russia’s Gulfood debut is being led by the Federation’s Minister of Agriculture Alexander Tkachev and marks the launch of a global export sales push for the country’s leading food producers.

Their product line-up includes a range of frozen and chilled meat and poultry products including frozen Halal chicken and beef, milk and dairy products, yogurts,  cheeses and seed oils.

Japan, buoyed by record 2015 agricultural, forestry and fishery exports to the UAE amounting to Dh214 million ($58.3 million), has expanded its pavilion by 150 per cent.

Eighty Brazilian companies are looking to build on the country’s 2015 exports to the GCC reaching almost $4 billion, with the UAE absorbing nearly a third. Pavilion participants will promote a vast range of products from poultry to fruit, dairy, confectionery and pastry, while the pavilion will have two restaurants – a steakhouse BBQ and general food outlet where a Brazilian chef will prepare typical food and shawarma with Brazilian chicken.

Gulfood stalwart France has 71 food and beverage companies and 28 foodservice equipment providers in a pavilion where experts in the Saudi Arabian, Lebanese, Egyptian, Indian and Kenyan markets will be on hand to facilitate business.

Meanwhile, Spain is launching its biggest ever Gulfood campaign across a whopping 1,404 sq m of exhibition space.

The Spaniards will roll out a vast array of hospitality and catering equipment, from ice makers and fire doors, to food storage and containers, combi ovens, blast chillers, beverage cellers, commercial washers to juicers, said the organisers.

Long-standing Gulfood partner Egypt has 125 companies at the show and a much wider, multi-commodities exhibitor profile ranging from freshly frozen fruit and vegetables to chocolate biscuits, dairy and dates.

Pakistan’s revitalised food and beverage agricultural industry is launching a major export push at the show with 51 Pakistani companies in a country pavilion led by the Trade Development Authority.

Gulfood will also host the ninth World Cezve / Ibrik Championship, where the UAE’s undefeated Cezve / Ibrik coffee-making champion, Karthikeyan Ranjedran, will pin his hopes on a genetically-engineered Kenyan coffee bean as he seeks to ward off 20 international challengers and secure his adopted homeland’s first World Cezve / Ibrik Championship title.

Halal is another huge Gulfood 2016 focus and over 800 Halal certified companies are within the Halal World Food show-in-a-show, while the revamped Gulfood conference programme will include the Gulfood Halal Forum among other dedicated vertical sessions being held until Wednesday.

The conference programme also includes the F&B Business Forum, which debuts on Sunday and features The Innovation Hub sponsored by British Airways and Avios.

The Innovation Hub will see selected entrepreneurs pitch game-changing business ideas to an expert judging panel in a bid to walk away with start-up investment capital.

“The Innovation Hub is a springboard for budding entrepreneurs to elevate their businesses – active or nascent – to the next level,” said Melanie Mingas, the group editor of conference producers, BNC Publishing.

“It’s an initiative clearly aligned to Gulfood’s ability to unearth more industry trends and help propel more trade forward.”

The show-floor culinary demonstrations will peak at the annual Emirates Culinary Guild International Salon Culinaire – a showcase of the region’s best culinary talent and expertise, said the organisers.

One of Gulfood’s undisputed draws for the regions’ top professional chefs, pastry chefs, cooks and bakers, this year’s Salon will see more than 1,300 professional chefs evaluated by a panel of 25 renowned experts, mandated by the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS) to judge culinary events across the globe.

With the number of F&B outlets in the UAE expected to double by 2020 when Dubai hopes to receive 20 million tourists as the emirate hosts Expo Dubai 2020 – food service and hospitality equipment is an expanded focus at Gulfood 2016, they stated.

Every year, thousands of F&B products and services debut at Gulfood and the seventh Gulfood Awards will recognise best-in-class excellence of individuals and companies behind the region’s leadership and innovation in the food and drink industry.

Judged by an international panel of independent industry experts, the Gulfood Awards cover six categories and 10 accolades, said the organisers.

Gulfood 2016 is expected to also draw a record trade attendance of more than 85,000 visitors from over 170 countries including international heads of state, ministers, government officials and national trade associations from five continents, they added.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Dubai | food expo | Gulfood |

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