North American food production and distribution giant, Del Monte Foods, is looking to own farms in Jordan and Saudi Arabia to expand its vertically integrated model aimed at established quality process control for its expanding overseas markets.
The news comes as Del Monte, which already operates farms in Turkey and the UAE, is planning a major promotion at this month’s Gulfood exhibition at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) – the 21st edition of the world’s largest annual food and hospitality trade show runs from February 21-25 with more than 5,000 international food industry companies from 120 countries.
“More than a specific product or service, we are excited to showcase our increasing involvement in regional farming operations, growing fresh produce on off-soil technologies as well as from the ground,” said a Del Monte spokesperson. “We want to grow awareness of the fact that we are not only producers and distributors but also growers.”
Del Monte, which operates a regional headquarters in Dubai, says its future regional strategy remains fixed on product diversification and geographic expansion to meets it aim of growing, producing and distributing premium quality products. The Company says its local-growing strategy is meeting rising demand within the food and beverage (F&B) sector.
“The biggest trend in the global F&B industry would probably be the rise of health consciousness among consumers,” said the spokesperson. “Del Monte is continuously launching new product categories and line extensions to match this growing demand. Our fresh-cut fruits and vegetable ranges satisfy today’s health and wellness-conscious consumers with a level of convenience that fits perfectly into their increasingly active lifestyles. We aim to stay ahead of this growing demand by launching new and innovative products.”
Del Monte says 2016 will be a key expansion year for the company with the launch of new B2B and B2C product categories and services; a selection of which will be in the Gulfood spotlight.
“Some of our new products will be showcased at Gulfood 2016 for visitors to experience and taste first-hand. These products are our response to making it easy for consumers to meet their five-a-day intake of fruits and vegetables; a simple, healthy-eating principle that can be challenging in today’s society.”
Healthy food is an emerging focus for Gulfood exhibitors with the show living up to its ‘more taste, more trends, more trade’ mantle. A sizeable spread of the show’s multi-national exhibitor base say they are ready to launch new products and services into a market where trends continue to evolve.
Product trending knowledge and new business opportunities are being cited as key drivers in attracting the anticipated show turnout of 85,000-plus visitors from more than 170 countries, including international heads of state, ministers, government officials and national trade associations from five continents.
Charlie Antoun, Brand Manager of Eathos Dubai – the regional restaurant operating platform which recently introduced Lebanon’s leading F&B chain Kababji to the UAE and is planning to bring additional international names to the MENA market – says he has already diarised his Gulfood visit.
“We will be at Gulfood because we have to be. As the leading F&B platform in the GCC with expansion plans to bring new brands to the region, we need to keep up-to-date with emerging trends, look into new and additional suppliers and there’s no better place to do this,” said Antoun.
Gulfood 2016 is a strictly trade-only event for business and trade visitors. The show is open 11am-7pm from February 21-24 and 11am-5pm on February 25. Visitors can pre-register at www.gulfood.com to save on the on-site entry fee.