Gulfood, the world’s largest annual trade show for the food and hospitality industry is set to broker more international business opportunities than ever before, with a record 110 country pavilions and 4,200 exhibitors confirmed for the 2013 event. More than 50,000 brands across every sector of the show will be on display. Taking place from 25 – 28 February 2013 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, the show has expanded by 13% in size to offer a record 113,398m² in exhibition space to participating exhibitors from as far afield as Brazil, New Zealand, Argentina, Australia, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland, France, USA and Vietnam.
The increasing market demand for food and drink in the region is matched by growth in global participation at Gulfood every year. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, food imports to the GCC, which totalled USD25.8 billion (AED94.7 billion) in 2010, are expected to rise to USD53.1 billion (AED195 billion) in 2020. Gulfood enables global and regional players in every sector of the industry – from ingredients to finished foods and from food retail to hospitality services – to tap into this prospective growth.
Gulfood’s host city, Dubai, is a long-established gateway to the Middle East’s burgeoning markets and plays a key role in the success of the exhibition. Strategically located at the crossroads of important shipping routes across the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans, Dubai remains well-connected to the Gulf states, North, South, West and East Africa, and the Indian subcontinent. Adding to its excellent location, the city’s state-of-the-art business infrastructure and logistical facilities also make it an important market for food exports and re-exports. Nearly 50 per cent of the food imported by the UAE is re-exported to other GCC countries in addition to Russia, India, Pakistan and East Africa.
“With sixty-one per cent of our visitors coming from outside the Middle East, Gulfood is widely recognised as the largest and truly global show for the food and hospitality industry. The sheer scale, volume and value of business conducted at the show is unmatched by any other exhibition in the world,” said Trixee Loh, Senior Vice President, Dubai World Trade Centre, the organiser of Gulfood. “The 18th edition of the show promises to bring even better variety in products, services and technologies as well as more opportunities for education and networking.”
The increase in exhibition space includes the special construction of the 12,000m² Zabeel Pavilion that has enabled greater participation from companies in the finished foods and ingredients sectors, from the region and beyond. Suppliers of processing, packaging and beverage equipment will also take advantage of additional space to showcase wider ranges of machinery and hi-tech solutions. In addition to hosting new country pavilions from Lithuania, Ecuador, Oman and the UAE, Gulfood 2013 will welcome the largest contingent of European and South American companies in the history of the show.
In addition to the extensive business opportunities, Gulfood visitors can also look forward to learning from industry experts, analysts and global leaders about recent trends and critical issues impacting the industry. Building on the steady success of the Gulfood Conference over the last few years, the programme has been expanded to include a franchising workshop in addition to a series of intense, highly specialised briefings covering topics ranging from finance to legal to sourcing strategy. The hugely successful Food Leaders’ Summit and, Food Processing and Packaging Forum will also form part of the agenda.
The record size of the Gulfood has been made manageable for both exhibitors and visitors by the introduction of time-saving interactive tools to increase the efficiency of operations and convenience. In addition to online product locators and an interactive floor plan, visitors can download the free Gulfood mobile app to find specific companies onsite, receive news alerts and meeting reminders during the show. Another new feature is the online Gulfood Connexions programme that allows visitors to create their own personal profiles, schedule appointments and manage their diary throughout the show. For VIPs and senior industry professionals, the Gulfood Majlis provides a dedicated networking environment to ensure proficient use of valuable time.
Celebrating innovation in the food and drink industry and rewarding culinary talent have always been key elements of Gulfood. The fourth edition of the Gulfood Awards, judged by an international panel of independent industry experts, will reward people and companies in 23 categories this year. The prestigious Salon Culinaire organised by the Emirates Culinary Guild, will host the highest number of chefs to date – more than 2,000 – to compete before a panel of 25 distinguished international judges. The Baking & Pastry Guild Competition will honour professionals from the region for their specialised skills and techniques in baking and patisserie.
Gulfood is strictly a trade-only event and is open to business and trade visitors from within the industry only. Gulfood is open 11am-7pm from February 25-27 and 11am -5pm on February 28. The online entry fee is AED125 and onsite entry fee is AED250. For more information, please visit www.gulfood.com.