Dubai’s Gulfood, which has become the world’s largest gathering of food and beverage exhibitors, has a waiting list of nearly 600 companies who would be accommodated in the next edition, the organiser said.
“We have a waiting list of 500 to 600 companies wishing to exhibit for the five-day Gulfood starting on February 8. There are a lot companies which are waiting but we’ve to be selective to give visitors more variety. We’re also building a permanent location near the Dubai World Trade Centre which will be ready next year,” said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President – Exhibitions & Events Management, Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).
The strong participation in Gulfood reflects MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) sector is also witnessing strong growth in the emirate along with other growing industries such as aviation, logistics, trade and hospitality.
Dubai’s successful bid to host Expo 2020 has also given an impetus to the MICE industry in the emirate which accounts for 27 per cent of $1.3 billion industry in the region.
In order to meet demand of growing exhibitors, Trixie LohMirmand said DWTC is hosting separate exhibition for special categories such as sweets manufacturers. “Since there is a lot of demand from food and beverage companies to participate in the exhibition we have introduced new concept whereby we have created specialist shows to reduce burden on Gulfood,” she added.
UAE companies, according to LohMirmand, have also seen increased participation as 15 per cent of the 4,800 exhibitors are locals as compared to 10 per cent in the previous editions.
Gulfood is looking at tapping the $1 trillion halal food industry as nearly 1,000 of the participating firms cater to the Muslim world exhibiting 10,000 products. The UAE’s halal food market is expected to grow from $3 billion in 2011 to $8.4 billion by 2020.
‘Business Monitor International’ has estimated UAE food consumption at Dh30.9 billion in 2014 which will rise to Dh40.8 billion in 2018. It means on average a person consumed food worth Dh3,444 last year.
The 20th edition of Gulfood – the largest since its launch in 1987 – will run from February 8 to 12 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Center spread over one million square feet of exhibition space, and hosting more than 4,800 exhibitors from 120 countries.
It expects to receive more than 80,000 visitors from 150 countries during the five-day show.