Global food firms increasingly enticed by Middle East markets – more bumper trade deals expected at Gulfood 2018

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

The show kicks-off on February 18 in Dubai.
The show kicks-off on February 18 in Dubai.

Related tags Middle east United arab emirates

This year’s Gulfood show takes place against the backdrop of rising regional investment in food production, with international manufacturers increasingly seeing the Middle East as a lucrative market for their goods.

Speaking ahead of the show, which begins on February 18, exhibition organisers at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) said on-site sales would contribute heavily to growth in the global and regional food markets.

The global food market is due to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.5% from 2015 to 2020, while the UAE food and beverage market alone is anticipated to reach a valuation of AED82 Billion (US$22 billion) by the end of the decade, according to Euromonitor International.

The bright forecast for Gulfood 2018 follows hundreds of major deals struck at 2017’s show, including the US regaining eligibility to ship beef products to Saudi Arabia, a US$31 million market. US exhibitors at the show also reported on-site sales of US$85.5 million with forecasts of a further US$722 million in direct sales as a result of their participation, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS).

The FAS also recruited 47 potential food and beverage suppliers - with a network spanning Asia, Africa, South Asia and the Middle East - to service US exporters.

Meanwhile, in the UAE, Dubai-based gourmet snacks specialist Hunter Foods signed a lucrative deal with Chinese importers, while the Emirates Authority for Standardisation & Meteorology (ESMA) hosted the pioneering Global Halal Industry Platform.

“In attracting the Middle East’s largest trade industry audience, generating huge transactional volumes every year on the show floor, and setting global foodstuff commodity prices, Gulfood is the region’s premier food and beverage industry platform – it underlines Dubai’s leading role in the global food sector,”​ said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Exhibitions & Events, DWTC.

Unmatched trading platform

“With regional investment in food production on the rise, international manufacturers see the Middle East as a lucrative market for their products. In this dynamic climate, Gulfood continues to empower the global food and beverage community as an unmatched trading and knowledge platform that offers unrivalled market overviews ​and insights to industry professionals.”

Following a successful debut in 2017, Gulfood 2018 will continue its sectorised approach. Tens of thousands of finished food and beverages will be featured in halls dedicated to eight of the biggest commodity trading sectors: Beverages; Dairy; Fats & Oils; Health, Wellness & Free-From; Pulses, Grains & Cereals; Meat & Poultry; Power Brands and World Food.

New to the 2018 event is the Gulfood Discover Zone, where exhibitors will be able to apply for recently-launched products to be showcased in an exclusive and interactive lounge.

Another new feature is the Gulfood Start-up Competition, which is designed to foster further innovation in the food and beverage supply chain.

“Gulfood Start-up promises to be the region's most influential innovation enabler for the next generation of food industry pioneers,”​ added LohMirmand. “The competition will connect impassioned food technology entrepreneurs from across the Middle East with the region’s largest food technology and product buyers.”

With more than 5,000-plus exhibitors expected at the 23rd edition of the event, which bgins on February 18, Gulfood 2018 will feature more than 120 national pavilions including first-time participants from as far afield as Estonia, Serbia and Slovakia.

The FoodNavigator-Asia team will be attending the event. To speak with one of the editorial team in Dubai, contact 

Related topics Manufacturers Emerging Markets

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