Gulfood 2021 returns with focus on safety, innovation, and sustainability

Over 110 world-class culinary stars and industry leaders are lined up for live talks, demos, and competitions - KT file photo
Over 110 world-class culinary stars and industry leaders are lined up for live talks, demos, and competitions - KT file photo

Rohma Sadaqat

Published: Thu 18 Feb 2021, 5:49 PM

Last updated: Sat 20 Feb 2021, 9:29 PM

Gulfood 2021 will open its doors on Sunday at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), with global experts and companies set to highlight a range of topics ranging from food safety and innovation to sustainable dining, food safety, and F&B design.

The event will take place from February 21-25, and is the first live, in-person food & beverage (F&B) sector event in almost 12 months. With a 34-year history of catalysing trade deals and sparking industry innovation, the 26th edition of the event will run across 20 exhibition halls under DWTC’s stringent health and safety protocols. Over 2,500 companies from 85 countries will seek new collaborations and partnerships at the event. In addition, 110 world-class culinary stars and industry leaders are lined up for live talks, demos, and competitions.

Northern Ireland, which is exhibiting at the event for the 14th consecutive year, shed light on how consumers are becoming aware about their environmental impact and are looking to make changes in their diet as a result.

Seventeen leading Northern Irish food and drink companies will showcase a range of high quality, grass-fed dairy products, infused rapeseed oils, balsamic vinegars, natural cider vinegar, popcorn and gluten-free fruit and vegetable snack products in addition to a range of porridge oats and oat-based cereals.

Scott Hanna, senior business development manager for Retail, Hospitality and Technology at Invest Northern Ireland, said: “The UAE and the wider GCC are premium markets and have a high import capacity for products such as dairy, oats and gourmet food, which offers significant opportunities for Northern Irish exporters. Consumers are becoming ever more mindful of the environmental impact of commercial farming practices. Northern Ireland’s food and drink sector is characterised by a commitment to high ethical and environmental standards with food producers who are dedicated to quality and traceability. This has been key to our successful export growth to the Gulf and over 70 countries word wide. We look forward to showcasing the best of Northern Ireland’s foods to the region as we continue to build on our close relationships across the GCC.”

Brazil, another country returning to the event, will be bringing 42 companies as part of its pavilion.

Marcio Rodrigues, manager of Agribusiness at the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil), said that Brazil is the largest producer and exporter of Halal protein in the world, and the second largest exporter of agricultural products to the Middle East.

“The UAE is among the priority markets mapped by Apex-Brasil. Besides, the fair covers many buyers from other big and relevant markets also from that region such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Algeria, and Egypt. Dubai is a hub to the region, considered a trade and supply platform for exporters seeking new sales in the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia,” Rodrigues said, adding that Brazil’s business in the region has jumped to $1.4 billion in 2019 from $645 million in 2015.

“We have a strong presence in meat and animal protein, besides sugar, soy and corn. We have a good participation in the market with live animals, coffee, cotton and some others. It is worth mentioning that we have had several new markets opened by the Ministry of Agriculture for the region in recent years, which opens new opportunities. Among the main sectors with potential to expand sales to those markets are juices, dairy products, honey, organic and functional foods, besides processed and packaged foods,” Rodrigues said.

Al Maya Group is all set to participate in the Gulfood 2021 this year and showcase its new specialties and a variety of products in FMCG category in the safest environment.

“We are delighted to welcome all at our stand as this the only F&B show that matters this year as it will be live as well as in-person,” said Kamal Vachani, group director, Al Maya Group.

“We are the proud participant of the largest and longest-running food & beverage exhibition in the world and eager to meet industry specialists to share and discuss new business ideas in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic. The group is looking forward to meeting suppliers and new and existing business partners during the five-day mega food showcase in Dubai,” said Vachani.

Al Maya Group which has completed 39 years of operations in the Middle East has become one of the largest FMCG distribution companies. The Group represents renowned multinational & regional brands such as India Gate, Cadbury’s Biscuits, Mars Cookies, Oronamin C, Pocari Sweat, Ice Cool, Koka, MTR, Society, Pillsbury, Sante, Acorsa, Minara, Kawan, Silver Swan, Fulfil, Skippy, Protein Bakeshop, Ali Café, Luna Milk, etc.

Al Maya Group, the UAE-based business conglomerate, has more than 50 supermarkets in the GCC countries in addition to other businesses. Over the years it has grown to be household name in the UAE, added Mr Kamal Vachani, Group Director.

Al Maya Group’s stand will be located at C6-20 in Hall 6 of the Dubai World Trade Centre. —

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