Innovation at the Heart of Gulfood 2018

Curtain Raiser

February 12, 2018

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innovationOne of the largest global food events, Gulfood 2018 is all set to channelise thousands of new product launches in line with consumer demand. The food trade fest is expected to be bigger and better in the presence of more than 5,000 exhibitors showcasing products across eight primary market sectors.

Following a record 2017 edition that welcomed more than 97,000 visitors across one million square feet of exhibition space, Gulfood – the world’s largest annual food event is placing innovation at the heart of its 23rd edition taking place at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from February 18 to 22, 2018. The show will also see attendance from hundreds of international heads of state, ministers, government officials and scores of national trade associations, who are eager to ink lucrative bi-lateral trade agreements among tens of thousands of anticipated visitors.

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 at the Gulfood 2018 will contribute heavily to the global food market and is expected to generate revenues of USD 3.03 trillion by 2020, 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 pc from 2015 to 2020, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) food and beverage market alone is anticipated to reach a valuation of AED 82 billion (USD 22 billion) by the end of the decade, reports 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,” says 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,” added LohMirmand.

As the global Food & Beverage (F&B) community gears up for this principal opportunity to source the latest and best products at the best price, Gulfood is promising a wave of new innovations and services to reflect changes in the consumer demand.

The fully sold out event will welcome over 5,000 exhibitors showcasing products across eight primary market sectors. The eight market sectors will include:

1. Beverages – soft drinks, hot drinks, waters and fresh beverages

2. Dairy – milk, yogurts, butters and cheese

3. Fats and Oils – olive, coconut, sunflower and other plant-based cooking oils, ghee (clarified butter), etc.

4. Health, Wellness, Free-From – organic, vegan, gluten-free, enriched & fortified foods, etc.

5. Pulses, Grains, Cereals – a wide variety of grains, beans, rice, cereals, etc.

6. Meat and Poultry – grass-fed, corn-fed, free-range, etc.

7. World Food – country pavilions bringing you the best of their traditions through niche and speciality producers

8. Power Brands – these exhibitors are a one-stop-shop for multiple product categories

The World Food category will feature 120 country pavilions displaying authentic, niche and natural products that cater to a consumer shift towards food that is traceable by origin and the source. The latest World Food additions are Estonia, Serbia and Slovak Republic.

Maintaining a tight focus on diversity, this year’s event will feature a Newcomers Exhibition Lounge showcasing trend-driven products that have never been previously available in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region. This brand new trading opportunity will run parallel with an Innovation and New Products Zone spotlighting the most successful and relevant market entries that have never previously launched in MENA. International newcomers Kerry, Juicy, Belmoca, Asian Blending, German Meat Association and Promar are some of the highlights. In total, buyers can look forward to meeting more than 1,000 new-to-show food and beverage producers that have been hand-selected to deliver greater volumes of consumer-oriented products. These include health and wellness categories such as organic and sugar-free plus third-wave coffee varieties and new taste and texture innovations across the board.

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.

Gulfood Innovation Awards finalists will also form an integral part of the Innovation Zone showcase, with 2018 award winners being announced during the prestigious annual awards ceremony. Additional networking features include a series of government accredited fringe seminars running throughout the exhibition plus live demonstrations from some of the most exciting global start-ups on the scene.

According to the government estimates, India currently stands at sixth place in the global food and grocery market, but its share in food items exports is just 12 pc, which the government hopes to boost up to 20 pc. Exports of some of the items have seen sharp rises over the past five years, such as prawns, registering a rise of 17 pc between 2012 and 2017, while the grapes and turmeric exports have grown by 12 pc. Almost all the top brands of Indian food sector, who are into export, are showcasing their products at Gulfood.

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 World Cevze/Ibrik Championships, endorsed by the Speciality Coffee Association.

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