The 2018 edition of Gulfood, the world’s largest annual food and beverage trade event and the first major international food industry trade show of the year, will further strengthen the UAE’s lead role in setting the global food agenda, according to the exhibition organisers, Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).
Citing the long-established reputation of Gulfood as a key driver in fostering innovation across the local, regional and global food and beverage supply chain, DWTC officials revealed on-site sales generated by 95,000-plus buyers and visitors at Gulfood 2018 - which runs from 18-22 February - will contribute heavily to a global food market expected to generate revenues of USD3.03 trillion by 2020. This is according to Research and Markets, a Dublin-based market research company.
With the global food market due to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.5 percent from 2015 to 2020, the UAE food and beverage market alone is anticipated to reach a valuation of AE$82 billion (US$22 billion) by the end of the decade, according to Euromonitor International.
“In attracting the Middle East’s largest trade industry audience, generating huge transactional volumes every year on the show floor, and setting global foodstuff commodity prices, Gulfood is the region’s premier food and beverage industry platform. It underlines Dubai’s leading role in the global food sector,” said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Exhibitions & Events, DWTC.
“With regional investment in food production on the rise, international manufacturers see the Middle East as a lucrative market for their products. In this dynamic climate, Gulfood continues to empower the global food and beverage community as an unmatched trading and knowledge platform that offers unrivalled market overviews and insights to industry professionals.”
The bright forecast for Gulfood 2018 follows hundreds of major deals struck and initiatives launched at this year’s event, including US Beef regaining eligibility to ship beef products to Saudi Arabia, a US$31 million market. US exhibitors at the show reported on-site sales of US$85.5 million with forecasts of a further US$722 million in direct sales as a result of their participation, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS). The FAS also recruited 47 potential food and beverage suppliers - with a network spanning Asia, Africa, South Asia and the Middle East - to service US exporters at Gulfood 2017.
In the UAE, Dubai-based gourmet snacks specialist, Hunter Foods signed a lucrative deal with Chinese importers, while the Emirates Authority for Standardisation & Meteorology (ESMA) hosted the pioneering Global Halal Industry Platform.
Following a successful debut in 2017, Gulfood 2018 will continue its sectorised approach to further increase accessibility and trading potential. Tens of thousands of finished food and beverages will be featured in halls dedicated to eight of the biggest commodity trading sectors: Beverages; Dairy; Fats & Oils; Health, Wellness & Free-From; Pulses, Grains & Cereals; Meat & Poultry; Power Brands; and World Food.
With the Pulses, Grains & Cereals and Fats & Oils sectors already close to being sold-out amid unprecedented demand, the Meat & Poultry sector is also tracking strong sales two months before the show.
“For United States red meat exporters, Gulfood has a well-established reputation as the premier marketing event in the Gulf region,” said Philip Seng, President & CEO, US Meat Export Federation (USMEF). “Over the years, Gulfood’s footprint has expanded considerably and it’s now a key venue for exporters looking to grow their business in emerging markets in Africa, Asia and Europe.”
New to the 2018 event is the Gulfood Discover Zone, where exhibitors will be able to apply for recently-launched products to be showcased in an exclusive and interactive lounge. The Gulfood Discover Zone will also feature a dedicated area for companies that have never conducted business in the MENA region before and are using Gulfood as a market-entry opportunity. Finalists for the Gulfood Innovation Awards, which also return in 2018, will also be showcased in the Gulfood Discover Zone.
Another new feature is the Gulfood Startup Competition, which is designed to foster further innovation in the food and beverage supply chain. Open to aspiring food industry professionals or students, the competition will reward sustainable development and socially-impactful ideas that are either disrupting the old ways of doing business, or promoting healthier and environmentally-correct practices.
“Gulfood Startup promises to be the region's most influential innovation enabler for the next generation of food industry pioneers,” added LohMirmand. “The competition will connect impassioned food technology entrepreneurs from across the Middle East with the region’s largest food technology and product buyers.”
With more than 5,000-plus exhibitors expected at the 23rd edition of the event, Gulfood 2018 will feature more than 120 national pavilions including first-time participants from as far afield as Estonia, Serbia and Slovakia. The show will also see hundreds of international heads of state, ministers, government officials and scores of national trade associations eager to ink lucrative bi-lateral trade agreements among tens of thousands of anticipated visitors.
Gulfood 2018 will also see the return of perennial features including Halal World Food, the world’s largest annual Halal food sourcing trade show; the annual Emirates Culinary Guild International Salon Culinaire; the world’s largest single-entry chef competition; and the Gulfood Innovation Awards, which recognise best-in-class excellence and innovation across the region’s food and drink industry.
Gulfood 2018 is a trade event open strictly to business and trade visitors. The show is open 11am-7pm from 18-21 February and 11am-5pm on 22 February. Visitors can pre-register for AE$250 (US$68) at www.gulfood.com to save AE$150 (US$40) on the on-site entry fee of AE$400 (US$108).