Press Release

International Trade Commissions Highlight Importance of Middle East Markets for Global Food and Beverage Industry

13 Feb 2012

International Trade Commissions Highlight Importance of Middle East Markets for Global Food and Beverage Industry

​Organiser of Gulfood 2012, Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) and leading trade commissioners from around the world met today to discuss the significant business opportunities the GCC offers for international food, beverage and hospitality companies. With population in the GCC region expected to cross the 50 million mark by 2020, up from the current level of 40.6 million according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), meeting the increasing demand for food represents an opportunity for leading international players in the sector.

Trade commissioners and ambassadors representing Algeria, Chile, Germany, France, India and Italy,joined Helal Saeed Almarri, CEO, DWTC, to highlight opportunities and challenges for food trade in the MEASA region and the importance of the world’s largest annual food and hospitality trade event for their respective markets.Taking place from 19 – 22 February 2012 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, the event has attracted sell-out participation from 88 countries and 110 international pavilions.

“The growth and outlook of the food sector is a very important issue for the Middle East market as global trends present new opportunities for the food and beverage industry. With food consumption in the region growing exponentially, there is a pressing need to establish valuable trade relations with the food producing nations. Similarly, the region represents huge potential for companies with home markets that are currently delivering minimal growth,” said Mr Almarri.

“It is therefore, no surprise that Gulfood plays such a pivotal role in facilitating the exceptional transaction levels for suppliers and manufacturers from every corner of the globe, knowledge sharing with the world’s experts on the latest food trends, along with access to key decision makers throughout the region and entry into these lucrative markets.”

With French agrifood exports to the United Arab Emirates in 2011 valued at €206 million (AED1.002 billion), an increase of 31 percent on the previous year, French food and beverage companies are preparing for a record event.

François Sporrer, Trade Counsellor – Director, France said: “Gulfood is essential for French companies to develop their business in the region. This year more than 53 companies will attend the French pavilion dedicated to food, beverages and ingredients while an additional 44 companies will participate on the French Pavilion dedicated to equipment and food processing.Since the launch of Gulfood, France has not missed a single edition of the show and over the years the French presence has continued to grow.”

Also a major food producing nation with robust business growth generated from exports to the Middle East, Italy witnessed an increase of 28.4% in sales during 2011 that generated revenues of over €90 million (AED 438 million). Commenting on his country’s participation at Gulfood 2012, HE Giorgio Starace, Italian Ambassador to the UAE, said: “Gulfood provides the optimal platform to enter a highly lucrative market, and its host city Dubai presents a perfect hub for the re-export of Italian products not only to the GCC countries, but also beyond to former USSR Republics, the Indian subcontinent and Eastern Africa. We are looking forward to brisk business at this year’s event and our commitment to the show is stronger than ever.”

As the second largest food producer in the world and a key bilateral trade partner with the UAE, India has significant presence at Gulfood 2012.Sanjay Verma, Consul General of India said: “Not only are we one of the world’s top food producers, but food processing is also one of the largest industries in India.Gulfood provides a highly targeted and effective platform from which to introduce the leading Indian companies in the food and food processing industry to the UAE and GCC market. With consumption in our country anticipated to grow by 14% over the next three years, it is clear why the government is investing US$18.9 billion in the Indian food industry between now and 2015.”

Food comprises more than 50% of exports from Chile to the UAE, and has consistently increased at an annual rate of 4.4% over the last five years.This year’s delegation offers one of the largest and most diverse range of products and services from this important market. Carlos Salas, Trade Commissioner of ProChile, the country’s Trade Commission Agency said “We are very pleased to be part of Gulfood for the fifth time. From bringing six Chilean companies to participate at the exhibition in 2008, we currently have 17 exhibitors at the Chilean Pavilion, making this year the biggest delegation we have had so far. This is a confirmation that Chilean exporters are very committed to reaching this market through high quality, safe and healthy food products”

Now in its 17th edition, Gulfood 2012 will this year welcome the largest ever European presence with Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands represented at the show. A number of new international pavilions will be housing companies from Algeria, Hungary, Kenya and Peru, confirming this year’s show as the most international to date.

Providing entry to the lucrative emerging, developing and expanding markets in the region, Gulfood, offers producers and suppliers unparalleled business growth. With over 3,800 exhibitors and 65,000 visitors expected to attend the key industry event this year from every corner of the globe, the influence of this trade event cannot be underestimated.

“The optimistic outlook from all trade representatives here today bodes well for continued growth opportunities. And with the ongoing commitment of our exhibitors, and their countries and trade commissions from almost every corner of the world, Gulfood will continue to play a vital and global role for the industry,” said Mr Almarri.

Gulfood supports almost every element of the food, beverage and hospitality industry, incorporating co-located shows Restaurant & Café Middle East and Ingredients Middle East, hosting the highly regarded Gulfood Conference, and recognising industry excellence through the annual Gulfood Awards and the Emirates International Salon Culinaire competition, the latter of which attracts entries from 1,300 chefs around the region.

To address critical food trends, highlight key issues and help foster continued growth for the region’s industry, the Gulfood 2012 conferences bring to Dubai more than 25 of the world’s experts, food entrepreneurs and business leaders to share the latest knowledge and business advice.

The Food Leaders Summit on 19 February will address the many challenges and trends shaping the competitive landscape.Keynote presentations delivered by the leaders of global players including Yousuff Ali M.A, Managing Director, Emke Group; Sanjeev Chadha, President MEA, PepsiCo; and, Eelco Camminga, VP, South Africa, Middle East & Pakistan, Unilever,discuss best practice, innovation, ideas and strategy.

Gulfood is strictly a trade-only event and is open to business and trade visitors from within the industry only. Industry business professionals on the day of the show will be able to buy a Four Day Pass for AED 200. Gulfood is open from 11am – 7pm Sunday 19 February to Tuesday 21 February and 11am – 5pm on Wednesday 22 February 2012.