The second edition of Foodex Saudi was inaugurated by Prince Khalid bin Saud bin Khalid bin Turki Al-Saud, deputy chairman of the Meteorology and Environmental Protection Technical Affairs.
The event at the Jeddah Centre for Forums and Events attracted more than 400 brands from over 30 countries and is projected to receive over 15,000 visitors and buyers from Saudi Arabia and the GCC, according to organizer Reed Sunaidi Exhibitions.
With the support of the Ministry of Agriculture represented by its Deputy Minister Jaber bin Muhammad Al-Shihri, Foodex Saudi has set the benchmark for food and beverage exhibitions in the Kingdom. The event featured many major brands.
Simon Blazeby, head of the exhibition, said the Saudi food sector is expected to grow by 55.3 percent over the next few years, reaching SR262.5 billion per annum.
According to him, the Kingdom’s food and agricultural commodities account for 15 percent, or SR65.5 billion, of its imports, with agricultural imports projected to grow by as much as 76 percent by 2016.He said: “The exhibition provides a platform for local and international businesses to come together and further develop Saudi Arabia’s F&B industry. The exhibition’s first day was a notable success with thousands of visitors in attendance eager to network, establish new connections and discover new-to-region brands from international destinations — Austria, Greece, India, Thailand, Mexico and Malaysia, among others.”
He said: “The exhibition provides a platform for local and international businesses to come together and further develop Saudi Arabia’s F&B industry. The exhibition’s first day was a notable success with thousands of visitors in attendance eager to network, establish new connections and discover new-to-region brands from international destinations — Austria, Greece, India, Thailand, Mexico and Malaysia, among others.”
Catering to every sector in the F&B industry, Foodex Saudi offered a wide range of exhibitor profiles and products, including confectionery and baked goods, organic and health foods, seafood, poultry, game and meat, frozen foods and ready to eat, and food technology and packaging.
Commenting on his company’s decision to participate for the first time in Foodex Saudi 2014, Gerardo Tapia, CEO of Cominova SA de CV (Mexico) and Cominova Espana, SL (Spain), said: “We believe that Foodex Saudi is a great opportunity to expand our market and unite Mexican and Saudi cultures. Cominova produces 120 different products and represents 30 different small to medium companies from Mexico. Our products are innovative, of high quality and aim to preserve Mexico’s inherited recipes.”
The opening day also marked the kick-off of the three-day Saudi Food Forum, with the keynote address being delivered by the Deputy Minister for Agriculture Jaber Muhamad Al-Shehri. Focusing on the responsible development of the Kingdom’s SR262.5 billion F&B industry, the topics to be covered during the three days in session include food security and safety, import and export, supply chain and logistics, halal food standards, and food marketing.
A new addition to the agenda this year, and taking place on days 2 to 4 of the exhibition, the Saudi Chef Competition encourages local chefs to compete on a spectrum of culinary talents, with the winners being determined by an international panel of industry professionals.
“The Saudi Food Forum will bring national and international buyers together with leaders in halal, food security, food safety, supply chain logistics, and food marketing. The provisional program includes speakers from the FAO, ITC, IDB, SMIIC and various national Governmental institutions plus talks and live demonstrations from leading brands, retailers, restaurants and hotels,” said the organizers.