As the world's population figures continue to soar, so does demand for food with a United Nations Department of Social and Economic Affairs study revealing the global figure is growing annually by 83 million people and estimated to reach 9.7 billion people by 2050. Consequently, the need for food is set to increase by at least 60 per cent.
In the GCC alone, population growth is forecasted to maintain a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 2.4 per cent to reach 57.6 million by 2019, according to Alpen Capital. As a result, regional food consumption will rise by a CAGR of 3.5 per cent to hit 51.9 million tonnes annually.
Identifying an urgent need to address growing food demand in the region, fueled by a growing population with an increasing disposable income per capita, Dubai, boosted by its strategic geographical location, modern infrastructure, sociopolitical stability and commitment to economic investment has moved to the forefront of the international food supply chain industry.
And Gulfood Manufacturing 2017, which takes place from 31 October to 2 November at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) - will reinforce the emirate's strategic objective to become a global hub for the food processing and supply chain industries.
Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Exhibitions & Events Management, DWTC, said: "Dubai's geographical location, political stability and world-class infrastructure support the food processing sector and food export trade. The continued growth of Gulfood Manufacturing is further evidence of how the world's leading food industry providers view the show as a must-attend and Dubai as a preferred destination to both house and grow their global business."
Backed by a visionary leadership committed to diversifying the country's economy - the food trade currently accounts for 11 per cent of the UAE's GDP - Dubai has assumed a crucial role from manufacturing, processing and packaging, to re-exports and the growing importance of food security. The UAE is already the world's biggest re-exporter of rice, accounting for 81 per cent of global trade.
Innovative government-backed initiatives such as Dubai Wholesale City and Dubai Food Park and private sector investment, highlighted by halal food producer Al Islami's USD27.2 million facility at Dubai Investment Park, Brazil's BRF SA's USD150 million plant and Abu Dhabi's National Food Products Co's USD411 million facility at the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad) have further cemented the UAE's increasingly influential role in the food supply chain industry.
"Government and private sector investment in the industry complement Gulfood Manufacturing as all major stakeholders continue to work together in Dubai's quest to become the primary hub in the global food production value chain," added LohMirmand.
Emphasising the emirate's high standing in the global food supply chain, Gulfood Manufacturing – the region's largest food manufacturing, processing and supply chain event - will feature more than 1,600 local, regional and international food supply chain suppliers and service providers with thousands of buyers. Exhibitors from more than 60 countries will be showcasing their latest innovations, including 30 national pavilions, with first-time participation from countries including Poland and across the CIS.
Fresco NZ, a Dubai-based supplier of food processing and handling solutions, will be exhibiting for the fourth straight year and is fully aware of the role Gulfood Manufacturing plays in cementing Dubai's role as a key player in the global food manufacturing industry.
Gulfood Manufacturing provides us with a tailored platform to exhibit our products to new and existing regional customers. It also allows our customers to see we are locally based and committed to servicing their needs pre- and post-sale," said Ken Hetherington, Regional Director of Fresco NZ. "While Dubai's global ambition will keep re-exports high,
the need for increased local manufacturing is growing because it reduces carbon footprint, labour costs and logistics -
Gulfood Manufacturing provides these opportunities for growth.
To ensure participating companies can connect with the right partners and investors, Gulfood Manufacturing 2017 will host the 'Big Buyers' Programme, which will host more than 2,000 pre-qualified buyers from across the Middle East and Africa, with a pre-determined budget to spend with participating exhibitors.
Also new for this year are the Gulfood Manufacturing Awards, which will recognise industry excellence in a glittering ceremony and gala dinner on the evening of October 31, while the Innovation Tours will offer visitors a memorable journey showing real-life innovations within some of the region's top, award-winning food factories.
An industry-leading conference will also be held on the sidelines of the exhibition featuring in-depth analysis, debate and discussion on topics including digitisation in the industry, smart manufacturing, big data and analytics.
Gulfood Manufacturing 2017 will open from 10 am – 6 pm on 31 October and 1 November, and 10 am – 5 pm on 2 November 2017. The show is only open to F&B trade professionals and visitor attendance is free of charge. For more information, please visit gulfoodmanufacturing.com