Exhibitors from 120 countries will display the latest innovations and new-to-market products Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Is there a theme for Gulfood this year?

Gulfood 2019 is the 24th edition of the world’s largest annual food and beverage trade show, which this year runs under the theme The World of Good. The World of Food. The theme highlights Gulfood’s status as a global trend-setting pioneer in the food and beverage industry and transcends the entire exhibition through a range of immersive features designed to enhance the visitor experience.

In addition to the more than 1,000,000 sq ft exhibition space where 5,000 exhibitors from 120 countries will display the latest innovations and new-to-market products, the all-new Tastes of the World will show the world of food, with a major pool of Michelin-starred chefs going head-to-head in a rare, live theatrical experience demonstrating distinctive flavours from different continents through live demos, masterclasses and competition.

Complementing the theme, the Gulfood Innovation Summit, a new three-day conference series, will bring together a global gathering of industry decision makers, thought leaders and major disruptors to tackle the major challenges and opportunities facing the industry.

- Mark Napier, Show Director, Gulfood 2019

Complementing the theme, the Gulfood Innovation Summit, a new three-day conference series, will bring together a global gathering of industry decision makers, thought leaders and major disruptors to tackle the major challenges and opportunities facing the industry.

What are some of the key highlights of the show?

Gulfood continues to evolve and this year’s edition will provide a truly immersive experience. In addition to world-renowned chefs demonstrating unique dishes and tastes from all corners of the globe during Tastes of the World, this all-new feature will see the first-ever Gulfood International Culinary League. Four high-profile chefs, Chef Francesco Guarracino; Chef Roberto Segura; Chef Saradhi Dakara and Chef Manal Al Alem will lead four teams, from Europe, Asia, the Americas and the Middle East, who will have 60 minutes to prepare a three-course menu displaying the distinctive tastes and flavours of their regions.

Elsewhere, Barbecue Masters will spotlight live pit fire cooking, which is set to inject a deeper level of flavour into street food and fine dining this year. The new CxO Club, meanwhile, will offer a closed business breakfast club for the industry’s C-level executives to explore and set new industry pathways. Attendance is by invitation only.

Furthermore, the Tea House sponsored by Tea Valley will take visitors on a journey of how tea was originally used as medicine in many ancient cultures, highlighting the vast benefits of tea.

What’s new at the show this year in terms of stalls, presentation and services being provided to both participants and visitors?

The show will explore the ‘Good’ of food with features and initiatives such as the Gulfood Innovation Summit and the all-new Start-Up Programme. The three-day Gulfood Innovation Summit has attracted top-level decision makers from world-famous brands and organisations, from the United Nations World Food Pogramme to Facebook.

The new Start-Up Programme will give a platform to 50-plus entrepreneurs from around the world to demonstrate how their contribution to the food industry is lighting the way for a smarter tomorrow.

Are there any new participating countries at the show?

Gulfood 2019 will host a total of 120 countries including new three first-time country pavilions namely, the European Union, Bulgaria and New Zealand, in addition to new individual country participants, including: Guatemala, Iraq, Luxembourg, Maldives, Nepal, Norway, Papau New Guinea and Tanzania who will be showcasing the latest range of products across the key F&B market sectors.

How many visitors are expected at the event this year?

With a packed exhibitor house and vibrant new features, DWTC is confident that Gulfood 2019 will see the show attract upwards of 98,000 attendees from 198 countries, with a mission to reconnect with existing partners, explore potential new partnerships and seek new business avenues.

How has the UAE food and beverages market profited from its past few editions?

Gulfood continues to provide the UAE F&B industry professionals a unique platform to engage with global players across the show’s eight core sectors: Beverages; Dairy; Fats and Oils; Health, Wellness and Free From; Meat and Poultry; Power Brands; Pulses, Grains and Cereals; and World Foods. Exhibitors at the show are guaranteed, unparalleled crucial face time with their target audience, while visitors have ease of access to the biggest names in the regional industry showcasing latest solutions and new-to-market products.

The show has provided a further boost to the UAE F&B sector, serving as a gateway to new markets as Dubai has emerged as a strategic re-export hub for companies aiming to enter or strengthen their market presence in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region.

What’s trending in the halal food sector and what does the UAE have to offer?

Demand for halal products is increasing, wherein manufacturers need to adopt clear labeling approaches with respect to animal slaughter and meat preparation practices. Furthermore, all halal certifiers must undergo a lengthy re-accreditation process to continue certifying halal products destined for the UAE.

Addressing the key trends in the halal food industry, Halal World Food is a show-within-a-show concept returning for its 6th edition at Gulfood 2019.

Reflecting the UAE’s strategic position as an international centre for halal food trading, Halal World Food showcases the full spectrum of halal products — including vegan and vegetarian food, meat and poultry, canned goods, energy drinks, gourmet and much more.