Surge in export deals at Gulfood 2019 underscores Dubai’s gateway status
Gulfood 2019, the world’s largest annual food and beverage trade exhibition, ended its 24th run at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) with major alliance breakthroughs and multibillion-dollar export deals reinforcing the emirate’s reputation for specialist industry events that serve as strategic gateways to hugely-lucrative and transformational global markets.
The 2019 edition of the show was the largest to date, attracting more than 100,000 visitors from 200-plus countries seeking business opportunities and exploring the latest F&B products and innovation. In line with its constant evolution to deliver an unparalleled experience for exhibitors and visitors, this year’s show incorporated a range of new features under the theme ‘The World of Good. The World of Food’, including the Tastes of the World, which hosted 50 world renowned chefs displaying their skills in 59 cooking demonstrations.
Highlighting the show’s ability to bring together the world of food and the abundance of business opportunities during the five-day mega fair, national trade organisations were in hyper celebratory mood as they closed their participation at the 1,000,000 square feet event with bulging order books and even more follow-on potential.
Gulfood sets F&B agenda for industry heavyweights
With mega F&B trade deals sealed at Gulfood 2019 stretching the length and breadth of the globe, show stalwarts and industry heavyweights emphasised the importance of the Dubai event to their annual F&B plans.
Business France, the French government agency that promotes the European country’s exports, hosted a diverse range of French F&B producers across a number of the show’s sectors during its five-day run and hailed the success of the 2019 event.
“French companies deem Gulfood as an essential part of their regional and global F&B plans. The show is the perfect opportunity for French decision makers to meet local partners, confirm deals and further expand on the growth of business between France and the various countries of region,” said Marc Cagnard, Managing Director, Business France.
Fellow European F&B behemoth Italy also enjoyed a successful outing and identified Gulfood as taking on greater significance for Italian companies annually.
Gianpoalo Bruno, Italian Trade Commissioner to the UAE, Oman and Pakistan said, “Gulfood is the world’s largest annual food and beverage trade show and it is an important exhibition for the Italian Trade Agency to promote ‘Made in Italy’ products and ingredients to the Middle East region. This year, we showcased the very best of the Italian agri-food sector and our culinary heritage at The Italian Food Lab. We organised cooking masterclasses with renowned Italian chefs based in Dubai and focused on the health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet and spreading knowledge to a wide audience.
“Italy has many talented producers that now offer iconic Italian ingredients such as pasta, pizza, sweets and snacks that meet the requirements of the contemporary culinary trends of gluten free and veganism, and Gulfood was the ideal platform to showcase them. The country exports more than 320 million euros of food and beverage items annually to the UAE, one of Italy’s most important international markets. ITA’s participation in Gulfood has helped strengthen Italian presence in the UAE and across the wider GCC countries and Middle East.”
Show success underpins Dubai’s global F&B industry stature
Across the five days, Gulfood also facilitated an additional 6,700 individual trade meetings with an average of USD1 million in deals per participating company. The ringing endorsement of the 2019 edition underlines the show’s position as a driver of a booming global F&B industry and key contributor to Dubai’s economic success.
“Gulfood has been a resounding success this year, with deals totaling more than USD21 million signed at the Chilean pavilion. This eclipsed the business done at the event last year by over one million dollars. Forecast for business related to the show will reach USD50 million this year,” said Carlos Salas, Trade Commissioner of Chile in Dubai.
“Our pavilion partners witnessed unprecedented demand this year. We saw a huge amount of traffic and interest from buyers from around the world enquiring about our fantastic produce, many of whom have signed deals, which will see Chilean produce exported around the globe. We have a long-term strategy to broaden our F&B exports further. We are already in discussion with several exporters from Chile who are keen to join our pavilion at Gulfood 2020, which will allow us to showcase an even greater number of products and ultimately increase the strength of our export business. Some of our exhibitors of dried fruit have said that Gulfood is already the most important trade show of the world.”
There was further South American success at Gulfood 2019 with the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (APEX-Brasil) reporting a combined, on-site order intake of USD1.45 billion among its 79 exhibitors with the export bonanza coming mainly from orders for meat, grains and processed foods.
Meanwhile, participants in the FOOD Philippines pavilion jointly netted more than USD83.2 million in sales with the Philippines trade agency DTI-CITEM attributing its delegation’s success largely to its Halal-certified food and beverage selections; dried, tinned and frozen fish; fruit and vegetables; as well as nuts and condiments, with orders coming from more than 1,163 foreign buyers from the Middle East, Africa and beyond.
“Once again Gulfood has shown its magnetic attraction as a business booster to Dubai’s globally acknowledged standing as a world-class event host and major re-export hub and its global appeal is self-evident. This year’s show was unprecedented in terms of the diversity of exhibitors and products, the quality of content available and high level of business and networking opportunities,” said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Exhibitions & Events, DWTC.
“The extensive levels of trade at Gulfood mirror Dubai’s strategic geographic location for transshipment success and the emirate is now undoubtedly central to a global food trade that is undergoing rapid transformation and development led by dramatically shifting consumer preferences, heightened international regulation and technology adoption.”
Homegrown firms celebrate
Meanwhile, as DWTC readies to celebrate Gulfood’s silver anniversary showing from February 16-20, 2020, key exhibitors at the 2019 event are busy following up major export leads and alliances sealed at the show. Dubai’s leading food manufacturer Hunter Foods left the show buoyed by a slew of new leads and enquiries which it expects to translate to a major new export boost.
“Gulfood is a must for us, it represents 50 per cent growth in export sales for our business,” said Ananya Narayan, Managing Director, Hunter Foods. “We met more than 20 new market leads for us to explore. It’s now up to us to convert these enquiries into new business deals. Our aim is to keep on growing and keep innovating to do Dubai and the UAE proud.”
Another leading Middle East name - retail giant T. Choithrams & Sons – is progressing with the Memorandum of Understanding it signed at the show with Future Consumer Limited (FCL), the major Indian Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) player. The two food giants have agreed to partner across the UAE, Bahrain and other markets to bring FCL’s portfolio of leading brands to Middle East consumers.
Gulfood leads the way with market intelligence
“The prospects for all industry segments are tremendously exciting,” said LohMirmand. “The Gulfood Global Industry Outlook Report, compiled by Euromonitor International and launched at Gulfood 2019, serves as an in-depth indicator into soaring worldwide F&B demand and consumption. Rising demand will be driven by expanding, more urbanised populations and although the strongest demand will emanate from Asia, the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region has been identified as an area of ‘high potential’.”
The report also forecasts MEA as recording the highest percentage growth for health & wellness packaged food – it’s opportunities all the way across the wider industry landscape.
Dubai’s unmatched location and expertise, combined with unprecedented growth of the global F&B industry, has spawned a range of precision-targeted vertical breakout shows under the all-encompassing Gulfood B2B umbrella brand.
Additionally, segment-specific show portfolio making a return include Gulfood Manufacturing, SEAFEX and yummex Middle East and a newly tailored event - Private Label & Licensing Middle East (PRIME), which will run simultaneously from October 29-31, 2019. Meanwhile, the 2020 events calendar will feature GulfHost and The Speciality Food Festival, taking place from April 6-8, 2020.