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Gulfood 2013 commences at Dubai's WTC; Ecuadorian pavilion a highlight
Wednesday, 27 February, 2013, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Gulfood 2013 – the eighteenth edition of the annual food and hospitality trade show – was inaugurated recently by Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai's deputy ruler and the United Arab Emirates' (UAE) minister of finance.

Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, the UAE's minister of foreign trade, the country's ministers, ambassadors and dignitaries from around the world were present at the opening ceremony of the event.

After the inauguration of the show, there was a ministers' meet, where ministers and heads of international trade delegations from over fourteen countries conducted bilateral talks.

On the opening day, tens of thousands of trade visitors from all over the world attended the show, co-organised by the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), the venue of the expo.


Helal Saeed Almarri, DTCM's director general and DWTC's chief executive officer, thanked Al Maktoum, the UAE ministers and the foreign dignitaries for supporting the event.

He said, “Gulfood is an event that has grown consistently over the last twenty-six years to become a significant driver of the food and beverage trade for global markets.”

“The presence of government ministers and top-level trade delegations from around the world is also testament to this fact, as is the continued interest from both large and small F&B companies to participate in the show,” Almarri said.

He added, “It is clear that Gulfood delivers substantial business contracts and facilitates unrivalled trade opportunities for both regional and international businesses.”


About 4,200 companies from 110 countries are showcasing their latest products and technology solutions at this year's exhibition, which covers a space of approximately 113,398 sq m. A third of these are new exhibitors.

Among the companies and brands participating in the expo are Barry Callebaut, Bon Cafe, Dilmah, Electrolux, General Mills, Hershey's, IPS, Knorr, Lipton, Sadia, Tetrapak, Unilever and Valrhona.

Al Rawabi, Choithrams, Masafi and RAK Porcelain are some of the local players which will showcase their offerings at the show. Del Monte, which has a significant presence in the Indian processed food space, is also a participant.

The four-day trade-only event will conclude on February 28, 2013. It is open from 11am to 7pm on February 27, 2013, and from 11am to 5pm on the last day. While the online entry fee is AED125, the onsite entry fee is AED250.  

Gulfood Conferences

The Gulfood Conferences is a series of four key summits which opened with Al Qasimi addressing senior executives of global F&B companies, dignitaries and trade professionals at the Global Food Leaders' Summit.

The conference line-up also includes the Food Packaging and Processing, the Food Inspection Conference and a Franchising Workshop, which are slated to take place during the remainder of the event.

Ecuradorian Pavilion

There will be an Ecaudorian Pavilion for the first time. Hussam Hassan, head of Dubai's Ecuadorian Commercial Office, said, “The UAE and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are both important export and import markets for Ecuador.”

“While imports from the UAE increased by an average of 188 per cent between 2009 and 2011, Ecuador's exports to the country increased by approximately 87 per cent during the same period,” he said.

Hassan added, “Our role is to help Ecuadorian companies expand into markets such as the UAE and to help UAE companies do business is Ecuador. And when it comes to the F&B sector, there is no better platform to do so than Gulfood.”

Other highlights

The organisers of the exhibition have introduced a set of online interactive tools such as the Gulfood mobile App and the Gulfood Interactive Floor Plan to help visitors.

While the objective of the former is to help visitors stay updated on all the happenings at the event and manage pre-scheduled events, the latter would enable easier navigation of the shop floor by providing visual guidance to the location of each exhibitor, brand and product.

Effective networking at a show as large in scale as Gulfood is a challenge, and this compelled the organisers to introduce the Gulfood Connexions programme. This helps visitors save time by searching member profiles online and scheduling appointments beforehand.

The Gulfood Majlis continues to offer business decision-makers and senior industry professionals a focussed and discreet environment to conduct top-level discussions and meetings.
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