Gulfood set to discuss food security, rising inflation

The five-day premier event, starting today at the Dubai World Trade Centre, will debate vibrant trade, manufacturing and investment environment as well as highlight challenges to the industry

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Muzaffar Rizvi

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The 28th edition has attracted more than 5,000 exhibitors representing 125 countries.
The 28th edition has attracted more than 5,000 exhibitors representing 125 countries.

Published: Sun 19 Feb 2023, 6:16 PM

Last updated: Sun 19 Feb 2023, 7:20 PM

Major brands, leading businesses and food industry experts are all set to attend Gulfood exhibition to showcase an array of products, services, investment opportunities and discuss latest industry trends in the wake of rising inflation, climate change, food security and economic slowdown in major economies.

The five-day premier event, starting today at the Dubai World Trade Centre, will debate vibrant trade, manufacturing and investment environment as well as highlight challenges to the industry besides strengthening Dubai’s position as a global gastronomy hub.

Experts say the world’s largest food and beverage (F&B) trade event provides an ideal platform to convene the global F&B industry at the start of the year and continue the shift towards more sustainable food production and consumption.

They also underline the need to develop a resilient food system to avert major crisis in under developing countries.

The 28th edition, which is set to be 30 per cent larger than the previous year, has attracted more than 5,000 exhibitors representing 120 countries. About 1,500 exhibitors will be attending the food exhibition for the first time, according to the organiser.

The premier food exhibition also paves the way for local entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized companies to strengthen their relations and connect with international companies, buyers and vendors, government and trade delegations; as well as share experiences and knowledge on the growing F&B sector in Dubai.

6.1% CAGR growth

Latest data indicates that the GCC food and beverage market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.1 per cent this year to reach a market value of $94.4 billion.

The market is expected to hit $128.2 billion by 2029 due to the rising population, increasing awareness of healthy eating habits and increasing food consumption. However, the market growth would be challenged by increasing food prices, unfavourable climatic conditions and increase dependence on food imports.

GCC food market by consumption is forecasted to reach 53.14 million MT by 2026, experiencing growth at a CAGR of 3.15 per cent for the period spanning 2022-26, according to a report by Research and Market.

Alan Smith, chief executive officer, Agthia Group.
Alan Smith, chief executive officer, Agthia Group.

Resilient food systems a must

“With the ongoing food crisis, combined with climate shocks, and rising costs of food, 2023 will be an important year for turning the corner and getting back on track while elevating healthy and diversified diets that are sustainable for people and the planet,” said Trixie LohMirmand, executive vice-president, Dubai World Trade Centre.

Alan Smith, chief executive officer, Agthia Group, said the food industry is fundamental, and the resilience of food systems is essential, but inflation and supply related disruptions, present a challenge to everyone in our sector.

“Gulfood is a key event for Agthia, it brings the whole industry together at the start of the year to discuss industry-wide trends and opportunities. For most F&B players, including Agthia, our priority is to get quality and more sustainable products into stores and restaurants, at attractive price points for customers," he said.

Building food security system

Among the leading government departments, the Dubai Economy and Tourism (DET) is being represented at Gulfood 2023 by the Dubai Economic Development Corporation (DEDC) and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Development (Dubai SME).

“DET’s participation aligns with the objectives of Dubai Economic Agenda D33, aimed at doubling the emirate’s foreign trade and accelerating the growth of SMEs. DET is keen to leverage Gulfood 2023 to highlights its vibrant trade, manufacturing and investment environment, in parallel with the drive to position Dubai as a global gastronomy hub,” according to a DET statement ahead of Gulfood.

Abdullah Al Hameli, chief executive at Economic Cities and Free Zones, AD Ports Group, said, the UAE has taken bold steps for building a sustainable farming ecosystem to achieve ultimate food security.

“At Kezad, we are fully aligned with this vision and have made great strides in supporting its realisation, as we move to secure food sources today and in the future. We continue to monitor the latest trends and bring innovation and best in market solutions to Abu Dhabi to overcome any challenges in achieving our goals.”

Khalifa Economic Zones Abu Dhabi (Kezad Group) is participating in the five-day event to showcase its products, services and business solutions.

“Kezad Group is working to realise the UAE’s vision of becoming the world’s best on the Global Food Security Index by 2051. Visitors to the event will be able to see key benefits Kezad has to offer and hear of the experiences of companies already operating in the sector within the Kezad ecosystem,” the group said in a statement on Sunday.

Mohamed Al Khadar Al Ahmed, CEO Khalifa Economic Zones Abu Dhabi – Kezad Group, said his group has taken several measures to enhance its food ecosystem through local and international collaborations and dialogue.

“We have also attracted investments and clients in new technologies to make Abu Dhabi the regional hub for food. As we showcase our capabilities and experience in Gulfood 2023, we are determined to enhance the value proposition for our food ecosystem,” he said.

Saud Salim Al Mazrouei, director at the Hamriyah Free Zone Authority (HFZA), reaffirmed the authority's commitment to participating annually in Gulfood to promote the exceptional advantages that the free zone provides to investors.

Al Mazrouei noted that the Hamriyah Free Zone is the ideal destination for all businesses, offering a seamless operating system that caters to their unique needs, regardless of their size.

— muzaffarrizvi@khaleejtimes.com


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