Dubai: Within a few hours after its opening, many stands at Gulfood 2010 reported confidence in the growth of the exhibition and the high number of visitors.
The latest edition of the event was inaugurated Sunday by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Marlon Galang, head of the agri-marine division at the service business department of the Centre for International Trade Expositions and Mission (CITEM), Philippines, said this year is already looking a lot busier than previous years. "Our main priority this year is to branch out into the mainstream market in the UAE. One of our exhibitors, FCG Trading, has already met their target of selling $1 million [Dh3.67 million] in products."
According to Galang, spaces fill up very quickly and, in order to get a good place, they had to book one year in advance.
The Singapore pavilion increased the number of exhibitors to 25 companies this year, the largest representation of Singapore companies. The group says the increased number of participants follows the growth in food and beverage (F&B) exports to the GCC. Between 2006 and 2009, F&B exports from Singapore to the GCC grew 10.25 per cent and are now valued at S$291 million (Dh756.5 million).
"This is the largest number of exhibitors we've had to date. The UAE is No 1 for the GCC market. Dubai is a trading hub which acts as a launch pad to the GCC markets," Dean Tan, centre director of Mena international operations group, International Enterprise Singapore, told Gulf News.
This year's event has also attracted a record number of participants from the Australian meat industry. Twenty-two meat exporters are exhibiting in the Meat and Livestock Australia Pavilion. "This is a clear indication that Australian meat is a coveted commodity for the UAE and the entire Middle East region," said Lachlan Bowtell, regional manager of Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA).
Expected to be its biggest yet, the 15th Gulfood event features 3,500 companies from more than 80 countries attracting tens of thousands of trade visitors. This year will also see a host of new launches from companies including Alokozay, Coffee Planet, Gourmet Display, Syncao, and Villeroy and Boch.
"Companies large and small from around the world are increasingly taking an interest in the Middle East. Whether they are food distributors looking for the latest products or manufacturers looking for new markets, Gulfood is indisputably recognised as the No 1 platform to gain an insight and a foothold into one of the world fastest growing markets," said Hilal Saeed Al Merri, CEO of the Dubai World Trade Centre and organiser of the exhibition, in a statement.
"This year's show indicates strong market growth for all sectors of the food and beverage industry."
Running alongside Gulfood show will be the fifth Dubai International Food Safety Conference organised by Dubai Municipality to highlight health and safety development issues in the industry. Other components include the popular Emirates Salon Culinaire competition which has attracted a record 1,500 entries from chefs and professionals around the region. The event will conclude on Wednesday.