Gulfood 2009 Proves Lucrative For Malaysian Exhibitors

By Abdul Muin Majid

DUBAI, March 5 (Bernama) — The just-concluded Gulfood 2009
exhibition has proven to be a goldmine for the 47 participating
Malaysian companies, having chalked up confirmed orders to the tune of
RM68 million.

Malaysian trade commissioner in the United Arab Emirates (UAE),
Noraslan Hadi Abdul Kadir, said sales under negotiation during the
four-day show, which ended on Feb 26, amounted to RM51.5 million and
required further follow-ups.

“The Malaysian exhibitors received many trade visitors and 6,373
trade enquiries during the exhibition,” he told Bernama on the outcome
of the 14th edition of Gulfood, billed as Middle East’s largest
specialised foodstuff, beverage and equipment show at the Dubai
International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC) and Airport Expo
Dubai (AED).

The Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade)
brought in the Malaysian exhibitors made up of manufacturers and
suppliers of various food products and beverages, many trying to enter
the Gulf and neighbouring markets.

Products from Malaysia exhibited at the show included sauces,
health food supplements, vegetable oil, chocolates, energy drink,
coffee and tea, ready-to-eat frozen food, cocoa, confectionery items,
biscuits, health food, fruit juices and packaging products.

The Malaysian pavilion at the DICEC was a hive of activity during
the exhibition, with company representatives present doing their best
to pitch their products to potential customers as well as agents and
distributors from around the region and beyond.

Noraslan Hadi said Malaysia’s exports of processed foodstuff to
the UAE increased from RM221.5 million in 2007 to RM381.8 million in
2008, an increase of 72.4 percent.

They consisted mainly of processed meat products, snack food and confectionery.

“Malaysian food products are widely accepted in this part of the
world because of its stringent standards and high quality,” said the
trade commissioner.

“In addition, Malaysia’s halal certification gives the products an
added advantage in marketing the food products here,” he said.

Gulfood organiser, Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), said more than
3,300 companies from 76 different countries participated in the event,
utilising Gulfood as a platform to launch new products and expand
operations in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states comprising
Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

It said Gulfood attracted over 45,000 visitors from more than 150 countries.

According to Matrade, industry data showed that Dubai was one of
the largest importers of food products in the region with imports of
foodstuff and beverage valued at over US$4.32 billion in 2007 compared
to US$3.87 billion in 2006.

More than 75 percent of its imports of foodstuff are for re-export to other Gulf countries.

Despite the global economic crisis, the UAE retail sector
continues to grow, supported by the upgrading of existing retail stores
and the addition of new mega retail stores. In retail value, the food
service market is valued at US$4.36 billion.

The food service sector is estimated to grow by an average of
seven percent annually over the next five years. Dubai and Abu Dhabi
account for 80 percent of the total food service market.

Matrade said besides the growing local market, UAE had also
established itself as the re-export centre of the Middle East,
supplying to more than 1.8 billion people in the region, including
countries like Iran, CIS countries, Africa, neighbouring Gulf states,
Iraq, India, Pakistan and others.

During 2007, UAE’s recorded re-exports were valued at US$32.78 billion, of which prepared foodstuff amounted to US$603 million.

Food products are mainly re-exported to neighbouring Gulf countries, Iran, Afghanistan, Africa and CIS.

“UAE, in particular Dubai, offers tremendous opportunities for
Malaysian manufacturers and suppliers of food products who are
interested to use the city as a trading hub,” said Noraslan Hadi.

DWTC chief executive officer Helal Saeed Almarri said Gulfood’s
achievement at this critical time was a testament of the global
confidence in the exhibition’s capabilities to deliver and increase
business and investments, much needed to boost the economy.