UAE: Gulfood 2012 sees record participation

Gulfood 2012, the leading annual trade show for the food and beverage industry, which took place recently in Dubai, saw a record participation of 3,800 exhibitors from 88 countries and 110 international pavilions.

The show which ran from February 19 to 22 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre attracted 68,681 trade visitors – an increase of 11 per cent over last year, who flocked to the 1 million sq ft exhibition to learn about the latest products and services available from every corner of the world.

“Gulfood has become a critical part of the business plans of the global food and beverage industry. With the exhibition consistently delivering results and growing year on year, its global stature is unquestioned.” said Helal Saeed Almarri, CEO, Dubai World Trade Centre, organiser of the exhibition.

“The continued support from countries within our region as well as those around the world has enabled Gulfood to play the role it does in delivering billions of dirhams in transactions for local, regional and international manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and retailers.”

Brisk business trade was reported from exhibitors across all sectors of the show, from retailers through to food producers, distributors, equipment manufacturers and service providers. While final figures for confirmed orders are not yet available, information received so far indicates record sales levels across the board, a statement said.

La Marquise International, one of the leading distributors and supporters of the largest ranges of world leading HoReCa brands available in the UAE and the GCC countries reported high levels of interest and sales within the first few days of the show.

Marc Hejazi, managing director, La Marquise said: “Gulfood has consistently provided us with a platform to launch new products to our target audience – it serves as a hub of business for the F&B industry in the region, and attracts visitors from countries as far afield as Uzbekistan that we would otherwise not have the opportunity to meet.”

“We attended two other international exhibitions this year that did not generate nearly the number of sales or level of enquiries that we received in the first two days of Gulfood. We are delighted to announce that not only have we sold all our display machines already, we have received an unprecedented fifty franchise enquiries for French Bakery,” he added.

The show was also highly successful for local supplier of coffee, coffee machines and hotel equipment, Rio Café De Brazil.

A R Zaki, managing director, said: “We have exhibited at Gulfood since the very first edition in 1987 and have witnessed the show grow in size and influence. From its humble beginnings it now incorporates every sector of the food and beverage and hospitality industry. In the first couple of days of the show this year we received a Dh5 million ($1.36 million) enquiry for a project in Saudi Arabia.”

The international flavour of Gulfood was demonstrated in the more than 110 international pavilions participating this year.

This year the ProChile pavilion not only housed a total of 17 Chilean companies, all of whom reported brisk trade and promising opportunities, but also scooped its first Gulfood Award for Best Trade Pavilion over 100 sq m.

A number of major industry announcements were made during the four-day show and included a joint venture announcement between leading Middle Eastern halal food company, Al Islami Foods and Pakistani company Neat Foods, to develop and re-export Al Islami products in Pakistan and the international markets.

Saleh Abdullah Lootah, managing director of Al Islami Foods, said: “Our survey of Pakistan’s fast food market has shown very interesting potential for Pakistani market. We are committed to export the same highly quality of products that we are offering in the GCC markets. We are very much confident that it is a good opportunity and time to enter Pakistan’s growing fresh and frozen food market.”

Al Ghurair Foods, another food industry giant founded in the UAE, made a number of key announcements during Gulfood.  The company’s chairman Essa Al Ghurair confirmed the acquisition of 100,000 hectares of farmland in Sudan to grow grain, a move in line with the UAE’s efforts to address food security concerns.

UAE based distributors of a diverse range of products across the Middle East, Desage Group, reported excellent new business prospects from beyond the GCC.

Ana G Radu, marketing manager, said: “We have participated at Gulfood since 2006, each year showcasing different products in our portfolio.  This year we have received orders from throughout the Middle East, Asia, Europe and even as far as the US.  Our participation next year is unquestioned.”

With a strong British presence at the show this year, UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) were impressed by the opportunity to penetrate new markets.

Rob Furse, trade adviser, UKTI International said: “London companies really benefit from attending this exhibition, as well as buyers from markets as far apart as Turkey and India.  Gulfood provides a channel to buyers in the UAE, which imports over 80 per cent of its food products. Of these, around 50 percent are re-exported to Gulf Cooperation Council countries, the Indian subcontinent and Eastern Africa, meaning companies can cast their net far and wide.”

The show also highlighted excellence in the industry through the annual Gulfood Awards.

Organised by the Gulfood, the awards were judged by an international panel of independent industry experts and attracted more than 120 entries from 30 countries in 20 different categories including: best health education initiative, best new halal food, best environmental sustainability initiative, and best packaging innovation, while the much anticipated Emirates International Salon Culinaire competition attracted entries from 1,500 professional chefs around the region.

Delegates at the Gulfood Conference enjoyed privileged access to more than 25 of the world’s experts, food entrepreneurs and business leaders to share the latest knowledge and business advice over four key summits:  Food Leaders Summit; Foodpreneur Forum; Food Packaging & Processing Forum; and the Gulfood Workshop on Franchising.

“Gulfood’s position as an international leader spans the full spectrum of the food and beverage industry, offering an unrivalled trading platform, a world-class showcase for industry excellence and talent, and a forum for highlighting the latest trends, innovations and business opportunities. This year has delivered a record offering once again,” concluded Almarri. – TradeArabia News Service