With the hospitality sector in the Middle East developing at a phenomenal rate, pressure is being applied to the foodservices industry to satisfy the equally fast-growing dining market. Just under 500 new hotels, totalling 125,481 rooms, are confirmed to open across the Middle East region this year according to the July 2012 STR Global Construction Pipeline Report, and visitor arrivals to the region expected to increase from 41 million in 2010 to 64 million in 2020 according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.
In particular, the market demand for fine, gourmet and niche food products and ingredients is being reflected in the sell-out status of this year’s Speciality Food Festival, the Middle East’s only dedicated gourmet and fine food trade exhibition. Taking place from November 19 – 21, 2012 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, the trade-only show has grown five-fold in the three years since it was launched.
“The Middle East is one of the fastest growing markets for luxury hospitality in the world, which in turn creates new opportunities for many associated industries, including the high-end food and beverage sector.Not only are we seeing a rise in gourmet restaurants across the region, but the retail food trade is also enjoying considerable growth.Both are driven by a visitor and resident population across the Middle East that is increasingly sophisticated in their culinary tastes and upwardly mobile in lifestyle,” said Trixee Loh, Senior Vice President, Dubai World Trade Centre and organiser of Speciality Food Festival.
“To meet this demand, the Speciality Food Festival brings the region’s F&B and hospitality professionals and the world’s top suppliers of gourmet food products together to source the finest ingredients, gain new knowledge, establish supplier and distributor connections, and network with fellow industry professionals.”
With 14 new countries joining the list of confirmed exhibitors, including India, Italy, Chile, United Kingdom, Canada, Argentina and Poland, and the show enjoying a 41% growth on last year’s event, the Speciality Food Festival 2012 brings an even broader range of fine foods, from special breed meats and seafood to luxury chocolates, fresh organic produce and some of the rarest ingredients sought after by chefs in the region.
Commenting on their participation at this year’s event, Mike Walden, Commercial Director at
4 Corners General Trading LLC said: “We look forward to enjoying the same level of interaction with suppliers and prospective customers as we did last year. The show encourages the actual end-user of the products to interact with suppliers and discuss their requirements; we really welcome this as we always try to bring completely new products to the market. We recently launched a range of premium jams, preserves and condiments from France, which have been really well received by the chef’s in the UAE, as well as an exciting range of Gluten Free Snacks which is a fast growing niche segment. We also have another two or three significant launches at the show this year.”
With specialty cuisines exciting diners throughout the region, exhibitors such as MIFCO MEXICO SA de CV willlaunch a new line of authentic sauces, spices and condiments from the heart of Mexico, as well as a new cheese sauce from the US by one of their brands Amexicana.Jos Cardozo, Marketing Executive said: “The products promoted are primarily for Mexican and American cuisines, which are indeed specialty cuisines. Our focus is to attract traders, agents and customers who deal with such specialty cuisine based food products.As the only dedicated specialist food exhibition in the region, The Speciality Food Festival is an ideal platform to do this as it is more likely to generate genuine trade enquiries. The market opportunities here are good because of the international community and also the popularity of multicultural cuisines in this region.”
Highlights at the show include a dedicated Chef’s Corner with Dubai’s top restaurants showcasing their creative culinary skills using premium products and ingredients selected from a variety of participating exhibitors, while inspiring visitors with fresh ideas and new industry trends. The demonstrations at Chef’s Corner will complement The Speciality Food Festival’s position as a forum for specialist buyers, chefs and suppliers to review, showcase and sample products, and as a meeting place for networking and active business transactions
The Speciality Food Festival is conveniently co-located with Sweets & Snacks Middle East and SEAFEX the region’s largest dedicated seafood trade show. All three shows cover everything from ingredients, equipment and technology through to the finished products for catering and retail providing visitors and exhibitors alike with the perfect trading, networking and cross-selling environment.
The Speciality Food Festival is for Trade and Business Professionals only and will be open from 10am-6pm on November 19 and 20, 10am-5pm on November 21. General public and persons under the age of 21 will not be permitted entry. Free visitor registration is available now online at www.speciality.ae Registration will also be available at the show upon proof of trade status.