Gulfood 2012 was inaugurated this morning (Sunday) by H.H Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, UAE Minister of Finance, in the presence of H.E Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, UAE Minister for Foreign Trade, ambassadors and dignitaries from around the world, highlighting the importance and international flavour of the world’s largest annual food and hospitality trade event.
Tens of thousands of international trade visitors thronged the halls on its first day at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC), where 3,800 companies from over 88 countries began brisk trading from the moment the show opened.
“We thank H.H Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE ministers and foreign dignitaries for their support of Gulfood 2012, one of the most influential trade shows in the world for the food and beverage industry,” said Helal Saeed Almarri, CEO, Dubai World Trade Centre, organiser of the exhibition. “The phenomenal response we have received from both exhibitors and visitors confirms the success of Gulfood in consistently delivering contracts and customers across the entire spectrum of the industry.”
Running until 22 February 2012, this year’s edition is the most international in the show’s history, with a record 110 national pavillions hosting companies from their respective countries, all of which consider the event an essential platform from which to enter a very lucrative market.
In addition to new pavillions, more than 1,080 new exhibitors will also take part in Gulfood this year ensuring that visitors can be assured of new products and services from both multinational organisations and smaller independent suppliers from every corner of the world to the show. Leading global brands exhibiting at this year’s event include Barry Callebaut, Bon Café, Britvic, DelMonte, Dilmah, Electrolux, Foster Clark, General Mills, Hershey’s, Knorr, Lipton, Masafi, Nestle, Sadia, Snyders, Unilever and Valrhona.
Commenting on the importance of Gulfood, Richard Jones, Managing Director, Coffee Planet said: “This is our sixth year at Gulfood and Coffee Planet is launching a new range of Grade 1 Single Origin coffees from around the world, roasted by hand in our roaster, here in Dubai. In addition we are showcasing a brand new automated vending system from Germany that delivers fresh bean-to-cup coffee with fresh milk - a revolution in coffee vending for this market.”
Dedicated to providing unique networking opportunities for senior industry professionals, Gulfood features a host of industry interactive events that facilitate new business opportunities including the Gulfood Majlis, a commercial forum that offers a discreet but focused environment for business decision makers to associate with other industry professionals. In addition, the Business Match Making Session organised by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry is scheduled for Monday, 20 February and will connect more than 300 delegates from 20 countries through a dynamic networking session.
The Gulfood conference, a highly anticipated element of the show, has been expanded to four specialised programmes that reflect the latest international industry trends. Food Leaders Summit sponsored by Global Food Industries, Pro Chile and Unilever will highlight keys to leadership success. Foodpreneur Forum will offer practical guidance for professionals in the planning, research and test phases of new market development or product launch. Food Processing & Packaging Forum will discuss the key challenges facing manufacturing, processing and packaging industry professionals in today’s economy, with a combination of case studies, keynote sessions and interactive discussions.
The Gulfood Workshop on Franchising offers a complete session on food franchising by an industry expert and will familiarise delegates with franchising options, feasibility issues, financial and legal criteria, and differentiation between local and international markets.
Recognition of excellence is a key part of Gulfood with the Gulfood Awards seeking to reward achievements and innovations in the region’s food and drink industry. This year, 20 categories will be judged by an international panel of independent industry experts. Culinary skill will also be showcased at the prestigious Emirates International Salon Culinaire which, in association with the Emirates Culinary Guild, will host 1,300 chefs in heated competition before a panel of 25 distinguished international judges. The Baking & Pastry Guild Competition adds another niche element to the event.
Gulfood is strictly a trade-only event and is open to business and trade visitors from within the industry only. Industry business professionals will be able to buy a Four Day Pass for AED 200 at the show. Gulfood is open from 11am – 7pm Sunday 19 February to Tuesday 21 February and 11am – 5pm on Wednesday 22 February 2012.
For more information, please visit www.gulfood.com.