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Dubai ideal for new food businesses

Emirate offers exhibitors opportunity to promote their cuisine and entrepreneurs

  • His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Image Credit: WAM
  • Guests visit the Gulf Food Expo in Dubai. The UAE ranks third in tourism expenditure on food from the Middle EImage Credit: Abel-Krim Kallouche/Gulf News
  • Visitors at the exhibition. Image Credit: Abel-Krim Kallouche/Gulf News
  • The exhibition showcases the latest food products and kitchen equipment. Image Credit: Abel-Krim Kallouche/Gulf News
Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai's plethora of international restaurants has made it an attractive platform to launch and sell global products.

The Gulfood 2010 exhibition hosted over 80 countries from all corners of the globe. This year also sees a number of countries making their debut in the Dubai market including Kuwait, Libya, Lithuania, Sudan, Ukraine and Uganda.

According to a recent survey conducted by Euromonitor International, the UAE ranks third in tourism expenditure on food from the Middle East and North Africa region. The amount spent by tourists on food has increased by 1.1 per cent from $1.25 billion (Dh4.6 billion) in 2008 to $1.27 billion in 2009.

Growing exports

The Singapore stand, which hosted its highest number of companies yet, said the increased number of participants follows the growth in food and beverage (F&B) exports to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Between 2006 and 2009 the total number of F&B exports from Singapore to the GCC grew by 10.25 per cent.

Cooking demonstrations by William Tan, chef de cuisine at Saffron, Atlantis were carried throughout the day to promote the cuisine.

"Since our main job is to promote the internationalisation of our local chains, we're encouraging people to test the taste of Singapore cuisine for their restaurants," Dean Tan, centre director for International Enterprise Singapore, told Gulf News.

Zainal Abidin Yang Razalli, the division director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry in Malaysia, also believes there are many opportunities in the UAE F&B market for international produce.

"As a government agency involved in the marketing of Malaysian agricultural produce, we came here to promote local entrepreneurs. We want to develop our presence in the UAE market as there is a huge opportunity here. Dubai is a gateway supported by great infrastructure where businesses from neighbouring countries can congregate."

Razalli said the number of exports to Dubai have grown by 20-30 per cent in the last year.

"Dubai is an attractive starting point for new and established food businesses as the emirate enjoys the status of an east-meets-west destination. Dubai's top-class transportation infrastructure and expertise in re-export activities serve as icing on the cake," Hamad Bu Amim, director general of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said.