Gulfood Highlights Global Industry Trends for 2010

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

As one of the most globally-linked business
sectors, the food, beverage and hospitality industries make up a fast paced and
constantly evolving business. Nowhere is this more evident than at this year’s
Gulfood exhibition, the region’s largest trade exhibition for food, drink,
foodservice and hospitality equipment which takes place 21 – 24 February 2010
at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC).

Adding weight to this year’s offering is the
Gulfood Conference, entitled ‘Global Trends in Food, Beverage and Processing’,
which will help companies to stay one-step-ahead of the competition and build a
more profitable business by providing the most up-to-date industry insights from
leading figures. Some of the key topics include: Global Market trends in Food,
How Can Companies Best Insulate Themselves from Future Volatility, Product
Certification across the Globe and Innovation for Small Businesses.

“Gulfood has earned a reputation as a key meeting
point for the global food, beverage and hospitality supplies industry,
providing an ideal platform for bigger, better business opportunities and
turning the spotlight on the trends and developments breaking ground at the
start of a new decade,” commented Trixee Loh, Senior Vice President, Dubai
World Trade Centre, organiser of Gulfood 2010. “The recovery of the global
market and the continued growth of the Middle East region for the food and
beverage industry is a key trend that we are delighted to be supporting.”

Showcasing the industry’s top products, innovations
and inventions from more than 76 countries around the world, Gulfood is well
placed to highlight some of the top industry trends for 2010.


The importance of tracking food and beverage
products through all stages of production, processing and distribution is a
growing and increasingly important trend driven by both governmental regulation
and consumer demand. The institute of food technologies (IFT) issued a recent report
stating that collaboration and standardisation were the two key elements of
improving food traceability. From key ingredients – tracking the grain in a
cereal box to the farm it was grown on, and the apples in a vat of apple juice
to the orchard, to the process attributes of a product – free range, dolphin
free, earth-friendly, or fair-trade, 
traceability ensures safety, control and peace of mind.

Flavours in

Growing levels of interest in hot and spicy
flavourings are being reported through every element of the food industry and
Ingredients Middle East, which runs alongside Gulfood, will be highlighting the
latest developments in the industry. Global consumer, media and market research
company Mintel says that a touch of spice will be used in food products to
‘jazz up’ new products in 2010.

In the more obvious snack segment such as potato
crisps through to the confectionery segment, where the combination of chilli in
chocolate and candy is fast gaining momentum. Spice is even featuring in the beverage
sector where the added flavour is being added to teas, coffees and colas. Many
leading international companies will feature at Gulfood and Ingredients Middle
East, such as Cargill, Griffith Laboratories and Symrise who will all showcase
the latest flavourings from around the world.

Pomegranate continues to be a key trend following
its popularity in 2009, with its exotic flavour and antioxidant qualities now
being added to familiar products such as yoghurt.

There is also a growing trend for more complex and
sophisticated flavour combinations: McCormick’s flavour forecast for 2010
predicts a year heavily influenced by bitter, warm and earthy notes. Notable
highlights include combinations such as roasted ginger and rhubarb, thai basil
and watermelon, bay leaves and preserved lemon and roasted cumin and chickpeas.


An emerging trend in both the hospitality and
retail sectors is the renewed enthusiasm for food products that are perceived
to be traditional and local. Many companies from across the Middle East will be
bringing a wide variety of local produce, such as Al Ghurair, Etihad Salehia,

Ethnic cuisines, in particular, are becoming
increasingly popular, from premium restaurants to roadside fast-casual food
stands, and through to the retail food store where readymade meals – from sushi
to quesadillas – are gaining space and authentic key ingredients are becoming
available on shelf. 

The Big Freeze

The traditional image of frozen food as ‘cheap and
cheerful’ is set to be shaken up in 2010 with a focus by a growing number of
manufacturers  on premium frozen
produce that promises ‘locked-in freshness’, total convenience and the
positioning of the freezer as an extension of the pantry.  This is particularly powerful in
regions such as the Middle East where the majority of foodstuff is imported,
and offers excellent opportunities for the ready meal market. The likes of
Brazil Foods and Sadia will be highlighting the latest products in the chilled
and frozen food sector. 

Keeping it Sweet
and Simple

There has been strong movement, driven initially by
the global economic downturn but also becoming increasing prevalent at the
premium end of the market, towards simpler foods. This has driven interest in
natural and clean-label foods, including a rise in the use of natural
sweeteners – apple, agave, maple syrup and the high-intensity stevia, a product
derived from a shrub plant indigenous to Paraguay and Brazil.  In particular, the beverage industry is
an early adopter of this trend with many exhibitors at this year’s Ingredients
Middle East exhibition reflecting this growth. 


Consumer demand is increasing for food and
beverages that include inherent health benefits, from anti-oxidants to
probiotics and beyond. Dairy products and cereals lead the way in taking this
trend to the mass market. Companies such as Fortitech Inc., the world leader in
the development of custom nutrient premixes and responsible for fortifying food
and drinks around the world, will be exhibiting their latest innovations and
‘star nutrients of today and tomorrow’ at this year’s Ingredients Middle East
exhibition. Fortitech will also be discussing the latest industry developments
at the inaugural Gulfood Conference. 


An increasingly important pillar of the trade,
halal products and services are demonstrating strong growth potential around
the world. Currently estimated at US$ 2.1 trillion annually, the global halal
market is not limited to Muslim consumers but is also poised to gain increasing
acceptance among non-Muslims.  This
is because consumers normally perceive halal products as having undergone
stringent inspection and quality standard controls.

Andarakis, CEO, Al Islami Foods, will be speaking the Gulfood Conference on
‘Global Halal Mega Trends’.

Energy Delivery

A hot concept in functional foods, energy products
are increasingly gaining traction as manufacturers incorporate stimulating
ingredients in new applications. The market for energy ‘shots’ as drinks is
growing both regionally and globally (Power Horse, X35, Arabev, Arrow Juice and
Dhohler all make their high-energy Gulfood appearances this year), while the
confectionery market is focusing particularly on the chewing gum segment to
deliver the ‘energy’ concept.
Datamonitor’s Product Launch Analytics recently said
that products featuring the new energy ‘shots’ had doubled since 2006.

Population Paths

While population statistics in developed markets
such as the US and Europe lean towards an ageing market looking for products
offering cognitive and physical functionality benefits later in life, in  developing markets such as the Middle
East up to 50% of the population demographic is under the age of 25. This means
a completely different focus in the food and beverage sector, with snack and
convenience foods offering strong opportunities for market growth.

Power of

The need to capture consumer attention and assist
in the in-store search for products requires packaging that stands out on the
shelves.  This leads to new
packaging innovation – unique shapes, eye-catching colours and a consistent
‘look and feel’ across products within a brand. In terms of trends for 2010,
expect packaging to play the part of mini-billboards in the marketing mix.

Gulfood is offering industry related trade buyers a
complimentary ticket to the event by registering early at, saving up to
AED 120 on entry to the show.

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 either a Day
Pass for AED 60, or a Four Day Pass for AED
120. Gulfood is open from 11am – 7pm Sunday 21 February 2010 to Tuesday 23
February 2010 and from 11am – 5pm on Wednesday  24 February 2010.


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