Gulfood Puts Dubai at Heart of Global F&B

In 24 halls, 5,500+ exhibitors and 125 country pavilions fostered connections, sealing deals and partnerships worth billions of dollars….reports Asian Lite News

Gulfood 2024, the largest annual global food and beverage sourcing event in the world, opened its doors for a second day at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), with continuing huge footfall following a successful opening day.

Gulfood is bringing together food and beverage communities from over 190 countries in Dubai for the 29th year.

Across 24 halls, over 5,500 exhibitors including 125 country pavilions continued to make real business connections and conclude commercial deals and partnerships totalling billions of dollars.

Bryony Hilless, Australian Consul-General Dubai, and General Manager Middle East, Africa and Pakistan, commented, “Australia exports almost US$3.2 billion to the UAE and close to US$1.3 billion of that is actually comprised of food and agricultural exports. So it’s a really significant component of the two-way trade that we had between Australia and the UAE. Australia has been at Gulfood since the beginning, and have seen it grow from being a regional trade show into this global phenomenon. It is absolutely a global event when it comes to the food and beverage industry and it is where you have to be if you’ve got an amazing product.”

Greg Tyler, President and CEO of USA Poultry & Egg Export Council, added, “Last year during the show we recorded US$2.6 million in sales on the spot, with an additional US$7.5 million after the show, and made 160 new contacts. 2024 is going to be a much bigger show – I expect that we’re going to have some very good foot traffic for the remainder of the show.”

“Gulfood serves as a pivotal showcase, offering us a pioneering platform to engage with industry peers, unveil cutting-edge innovations and seize new business opportunities. Aligned with our core values, the exhibition’s global prominence fortifies our standing within the F&B industry, facilitating strategic partnerships and extending our footprint across varied markets” said Rizwan Ahmed, Executive Director at IFFCO Group.

Abdul Karim Al-Hamdawi, General Manager of the promotional program for Tunisian canned olive oil, confirmed that participation in Gulfood is among their priorities due to its significant importance in the global food and beverage sector. He stated, “Tunisia’s participation in Gulfood 2024 aims to support exports of Tunisian canned olive oil to the Arab Gulf markets, which are considered promising markets. Gulfood 2024 will enhance the presence of Tunisian olive oil in global markets in general, and enable Tunisian olive oil companies to develop commercial relationships and enhance international cooperation in this field to gain access to new markets”.

For almost three decades, Gulfood has been at the cutting edge of the industry, a platform showcasing the latest innovations in the food industry. Gulfood is creating a platform for companies in the food industry to present their products, services, and solutions to influential buyers from across the globe, facilitating intercontinental business deals and serving as the ultimate focal point for the world of food and beverage sourcing.

170 US Companies Participate in Gulfood

Valerie Brown, Regional Agricultural Counsellor for the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) at the US Consulate Dubai, revealed that nearly 170 American companies are participating in Gulfood 2024 in Dubai, noting that the first participation of the U.S. pavilion at the exhibition dates back to about 3 decades.

Brown said in statements to Emirates News Agency (WAM) that the sales of 158 American companies at Gulfood in its 2023 session reached US$18 million, stressing that her country’s companies are keen to participate in Gulfood, the world’s leading exhibition in the food and beverage sector.

She noted the distinguished relations between the USA and the United Arab Emirates and expressed her hope for further efforts to build new partnerships for American national companies during the event and to showcase sustainable products and foods, in addition to unveiling an experimental kitchen for national cuisines that includes the most famous American chefs.

Brown discussed the book “My Food Story”, which explores the cultures and traditions of various peoples worldwide. The book features dialogues with renowned chefs sharing their personal experiences, impressions, and unique flavours. It will be distributed to all American embassies globally as part of a “World Tour.”

The US official expressed her pride in this achievement, which records and documents American, Arab, European and Gulf cuisines in an attempt to integrate the world around one table and includes many secrets, stories and experiences of the most famous chefs from 105 countries around the world.

‘$577M FDI into Dubai’s F&B’

The Dubai International Chamber, a segment of Dubai Chambers, orchestrated a successful business event alongside Gulfood, the world’s premier food and beverage conference and exhibition. This five-day event, held from February 19th to 23rd at the Dubai World Trade Centre, drew 400 delegates from local and international businesses. The aim was to provide participants with crucial insights into Dubai’s evolving F&B landscape, emphasizing the emirate’s enticing opportunities supported by advanced logistics and a favorable business environment.

Euromonitor data revealed that the UAE’s F&B sector amassed $16.4 billion in retail sales, with $1.1 billion spent on food via e-commerce platforms in 2023. Further, FDI Intelligence data showcased that the sector attracted $577 million in new FDI from 2019 to 2023, courtesy of 48 international companies spanning 23 countries.

Lootah, speaking on behalf of Dubai, highlighted its burgeoning status as a global F&B hub, fostering ample growth opportunities while addressing global food security and sustainability. He underscored the significance of hosting Gulfood in Dubai, serving as an ideal nexus for producers, suppliers, and traders to forge cross-border partnerships. The Dubai International Chamber remains steadfast in its commitment to bolster the sector’s expansion by supporting local F&B companies in global market penetration and enticing foreign investors to the emirate’s lucrative F&B landscape.

Additionally, the UAE emerged as a regional leader in venture capital investments, attracting over $1 billion in restaurant tech and $335.4 million in agritech investments from 2018 to 2023. Retail sales projections indicate a steady rise across various F&B categories, including fresh food, packaged food, and beverages, buoyed by increasing demand driven by Dubai’s growing population and tourism influx.

The event’s panel discussion, featuring Lootah, emphasized the pivotal role of the Business Group in enhancing the sector’s competitiveness, further solidifying Dubai’s status as a major commercial hub for the F&B industry regionally and internationally.

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