Even as a forecast by global audit firm KPMG notes muted growth for the UAE’s food and beverages sector this year due to high market saturation, it is expected to gather steam in 2019 in the lead-up to Expo 2020.
With food trends continuing to change and evolve at a rapid rate, events such as Gulfood, the largest exhibition on the regional food and beverages sector, present a unique platform for industry players and customers to meet, discuss and debate the evolution of food and how it specifically impacts the UAE.
Simon Penfold, General Manager, Middle East and Africa for global dairy brand NZMP, a participant at the show, feels consumers are taking greater ownership of educating themselves about food and beverage choices, and this means vastly different things in markets across the region.
“A rising number of consumers in the Middle East are looking for more nutrition from their food, and dairy ingredients play an increasingly important role in this.”
Starting today at the Dubai World Trade Centre and running until Friday, the 23rd edition of Gulfood hosts more than 5,000 exhibitors.
“Gulfood 2018 will feature more than 120 country pavilions and more than 1,000 new-to-market products on display,” says Mark Napier, Show Director. “This show is a must-attend for anyone connected with the food and beverage industry.”
India Gate, the world’s largest miller of rice, will launch three healthy food products — sprouted brown rice, chia and flaxseed — at Gulfood 2018 as it expands its product portfolio in the regional health food segment in the Middle East.
Gulfood 2018 will focus on finished food and beverages and highlight eight of the biggest commodity trading sectors with dedicated halls for beverages, dairy, fats and oils, health, wellness and free-from, pulses, grains and cereals, meat and poultry, power brands and world food.
All that’s new
The major highlight this year is the launch of the Gulfood Discover Zone — a dedicated area designed to optimise visitor experience and amplify business opportunities.
“Within the Discover Zone, exhibitors from six of the show sectors, plus confectionery and snacks, will be able to apply for recently launched products to be showcased in an exclusive and interactive lounge to demonstrate their offerings,” says Napier. The lounge will
have a blend of physical products and virtual displays and QR code scanning for products.
Finalists as well as shortlisted products for the Gulfood Innovation Awards will also be
showcased in the Gulfood Discover Zone in Zabeel Hall 4.
The Newcomers Area located in Zabeel Plaza is another feature of note. The innovative zone will feature a dedicated area for companies that have never conducted business in the Middle East and North Africa before and are
using Gulfood as a market-entry opportunity.
Food industry report
The show will also see the unveiling of the Gulfood Global Industry Outlook Report 2018 that presents an in-depth look into the F&B industry.
Gulfood 2018 will highlight the five pillars of taste through demonstrations and sampling to help potential buyers and sellers experience the tastes they are looking for: from salt, bitter, sweet, sour and umami, the platform will satisfy every palate. The show also hosts the Ibrik World Coffee Championships, which sees the world’s leading baristas competing to be crowned the world’s best.
“The competition, managed by Irish event management company World Coffee Events, is dedicated to the centuries-old art of brewing coffee in a cezve or ibrik — the small, long-handled pot — and showcases the special preparation of brewing coffee through a competition format that celebrates the cultural tradition,” says Napier.
Gulfood also hosts its annual Emirates Culinary Guild International Salon Culinaire this year, the largest single-entry chefs’ competition in the world. The fifth edition of the Halal World Food Show, hosted by Gulfood, will spotlight latest trends in the sector as well.
Find your connect
Exhibitors and visitors can also capitalise on their presence at this year’s show by using Gulfood Connexions — an online platform to help plan a visit to the show in advance. This feature allows users access to the online exhibitor directory before the show starts to pinpoint who they would like to meet.
NEED TO KNOW
What Gulfood 2018
Where Dubai World Trade Centre
When Starting today and until February 22
Entry Registration fee for 5 days is Dh400. Visit Gulfood.com for details