Tuesday, October 23, 2018


“Sectorisation will see over 140 cos line up for Power Brands segment”
Monday, 30 January, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Gulfood is one of the largest food and beverage events held annually in Dubai. The 22nd edition of the event will be held at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) between February 26 and March 2, 2017.

This year, the event, which is the central meeting point for all food and beverage manufacturers and distributors from the East and the West, has come up with a brand new event layout with a view to providing easy accessibility to visitors and exhibitors.  

Over the years, the exhibition has grown to promote food and beverage (F&B) trade between more than 120 countries annually, enabling 5,000 providers of raw materials and ingredients to showcase the tastes, trends and innovations that are shaping the future of food and beverage consumption worldwide.

The commercial streamlining at the event will generate focused sourcing discussions, deep market insights and maximised networking hours that will prove invaluable for the forthcoming business cycle.

Mark Napier, exhibitions director, Dubai World Trade Centre, and show director, Gulfood 2017, talks about the evolved layout, focused trade sectors, new participants and more in an e-mail interaction with Harcha Bhaskar. Excerpts:

Give us details about this year’s event. Which edition of the event is it, what is the theme of this year's edition?
In 2017, we are celebrating three decades of Gulfood success. As the world’s largest food and hospitality event, the 22nd edition of Gulfood is undergoing an evolutionary change in layout, format and visitor experience - marking an exciting new era for the market-leading exhibition.

Gulfood 2017 will span more than 1,000,000sq ft of indoor exhibition space and purpose-built temporary structures allowing us to showcase a wave of new product innovations and services in-line with consumer demand both regionally and internationally.

This year, the focus will be on the show’s new segmented format and, consequently, increasing accessibility and boosting trading potential.

What are the eight food sectors that are covered in the event? How crucial are they for visitors?
By changing the format and layout, Gulfood visitors can now have direct access to dedicated halls featuring eight of the biggest food and beverage commodity trading sectors: beverages, dairy, fats and oils, health, wellness and free-from, pulses, grains and cereals, meat and poultry, Power Brands and world food.

The sectorisation of Gulfood comes amid growing global sales across the eight show components. Global beverage sales are forecast to achieve year-on-year growth of 3.9 per cent in 2016, according to online market data and research portal Statistica.com. The international dairy industry will shake off the excess milk production and sluggish demand to post a slow recovery from 2017 onwards, predicts IMARC Group, while a Markets&Markets report states that the global fats and oils market is projected to reach a value of $247.78 billion by 2021.

The new format will allow visitors to get straight to business, assessing quality and benchmarking price in segments of interest. It also allows for deeper market insights and trend awareness through focused consultation with the right experts in one place.

What are the new features to be launched this year?
Alongside the new sectorised format, the event welcomes first-time participants from Malta, Finland, Slovakia, Somalia and Azerbaijan.

This year’s event also opens the doors to international food industry professionals to learn more about the recent infrastructure and mega-project developments, such as the Dubai Wholesale City, the region’s first fully integrated wholesale trading city, where it will showcase fully integrated business and investor-friendly offerings addressing the needs of the local and international trading sector.

With this major realignment, global buyers will discover more than 1,000 new-to-show food and beverage producers, while the sectorisation will see more than 140 headline food and beverage names line up for first Power Brands segment.

How big is the event in terms of size and exhibitors?
Gulfood 2017 will span more than 1 million sq ft of exhibition space, with more than 5,000 international exhibitors, from more than 120 countries, showcasing their latest products.

Are there any product launches, buyer-seller meets, memorandums of understanding (MoU) scheduled to take place at the exhibition?
Being the world’s largest food and hospitality event, Gulfood is the place where the biggest industry players launch their products and solutions. This year will be no different as a host of exhibitors are set to introduce an innovative range of new products for visitors seeking the latest trending food concepts.

This year’s edition will also feature the Gulfood Virtual Supermarket for buyers seeking world-leading industry innovations. This brand new interactive digital feature is a virtual shop window of the standout products and cutting-edge technologies being showcased across the board at Gulfood 2017.

Furthermore, Gulfood 2017 will host a raft of international heads of state, ministers, government officials and national trade associations among its comprehensive list of confirmed attendees, hence the show is the perfect networking opportunity for visitors looking to connect with the who’s who of the F&B industry.

How many visitors are expected this year? What is the increase as compared to last year?
Pre-registration for the event is now open and with the new sectorised layout, Gulfood 2017 will attract tens of thousands of visitors and generate record trade.

How many countries are participating this year? How many participants are from India, name a few?
As mentioned earlier, there will be more than 100 countries participating at Gulfood 2017, including the first-time participants. With the sectorised format, India will have more space in the cereals and grains segment and also beverages.

As always, we have strong representative from India and the show has attracted more than 50 exhibitors showcasing a wide-range of products, including Parle Products, Vadilal Industries, Al Nasir Exports, Al-Hamd Agro Food Products, Mash Agro Foods, Al Karim Food Exports, Rustam Foods, Al-Faheem Meatex, and Fiza Exports.

How many pavilions are there at the event? On what basis are they allocated?
There will be more than 120 national pavilions at Gulfood 2017.

Brief us about the conferences and seminars and demonstrations that will take place at the event. How will they benefit visitors?
One of Gulfood’s undisputed draws is the annual Emirates Culinary Guild International Salon Culinaire – the world’s largest single-entry chef competition. The Salon Culinaire will raise the profiles of more than 1,000 of the region’s top professional chefs, pastry chefs, cooks and bakers for a series of competitions judged by a panel of renowned experts drawn up by the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS).

Elsewhere, the eighth edition of the Gulfood Innovation Awards will recognise best-in-class excellence and innovation across the region’s food and drink industry. Divided into 20 categories, the highly-prestigious event is judged by an international panel of independent industry experts, with winners to be announced during the industry-renowned gala ceremony that is hosted alongside the exhibition.

What trends are being noticed in the GCC’s food processing sector? What are the prospects of its growth? Tell us about the emerging concept of food re-exporting.
The new sectorised format of Gulfood 2017 is expected to generate billions of dirhams in legacy trading throughout the year and further enhance Dubai’s status as one of the world’s primary food trade reexport hubs. Dubai is already the world’s biggest reexporter of rice, coffee and tea.

With new infrastructure – such as the previously mentioned Dubai Wholesale City – it is our aim that this will further transform the emirate’s strategic potential as a reexport hub for the global food industry.

What are the food products traded between India and GCC countries? What according to you are the potential products or related services, India can explore in Gulf countries?
UAE-India trade may hit $100 billion in 2020, according to a recent report commissioned by the UAE Ministry of External Affairs. India also ranks third among countries that export to the UAE, accounting for about 9.2 per cent of the total imports by the UAE.

India is considered to be one of the largest food producers, among the largest sugarcane and tea producers and the second-largest producer of rice, fruits and vegetables.

How favourable are the regulations in Gulf countries for foreign entrepreneurs to invest and trade?
Foreign investment rules in all GCC countries are intended to protect national entrepreneurs, but an investor is able to identify a local company that will contribute to the business, share any financial risk and facilitate business development and operations on the ground. Entrepreneurs can also make arrangements with a local businessman (or a company) who will become a partner in name only; even where such a local partner owns majority of the company, the foreign investor can put in place side agreements that allow the foreign partner to retain almost all the profit, carry all the risk and exercise full control over the business.

The GCC continues to be an attractive destination to foreign entrepreneurs because of the increasing growth in population and tourism numbers and the introduction of more international brands in the region.
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