Wednesday 11, January 2017 by Jessica Combes

Record number of UAE operators set to showcase food concepts at Gulfood 2017

The UAE’s food and beverage market operators are looking to maximise their stake in a market expected to be worth a whopping AED 82 billion by 2020, according to Euromonitor International.

A record number of local F&B businesses are preparing to capitalise on the growing appetite for quirky and inspired global produce by launching their international product lines at Gulfood 2017, the 22nd edition of the world’s largest food and hospitality show which runs from 26 February to 2 March 2017 at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).

Around 400 Emirates-based F&B companies will take part in the annual food event, making it the highest number ever from within the UAE. Record numbers of these are also set to introduce ranges of new world fare that aligns with the buying requirements of international visitors seeking the latest trending food concepts.

Euromonitor’s growth figures underpin additional findings by F&B advisory firm KPMG’s Hungry For More? report which describes the UAE’s “limitless investment appetite” thanks to its highly diverse, growing and relatively young population characterised by experimental tastes and preferences.

“Innovation, whether in terms of menu enhancements or new ways of understanding consumer preferences is a differentiator. The wide array of formats, concepts and cuisines offered in the UAE mirrors its varied demographics. We understand the attraction of bringing something completely new to the market,” said KPMG’s Partner and Head of Retail in the Lower Gulf, Anuraj Bajpai. Operators need to understand and predict customer behaviour – which can be challenging. There is merit in developing concepts that already have wider acceptance and appeal.”

Gulfood exhibitors are preparing to go under the spotlight with adventurous yet established product lines that have already proved popular in other parts of the world. Forthcoming UAE exhibitors Acme Foodstuff Trading will be showcasing their wide range of exotic spices, seeds and herbs hailing from various parts of the globe, but their brand of Turkish delight that has captured the attention of retailers, chefs and other food industry professionals. At Gulfood 2017 the confectionery will be served up ‘shawarma style’ from a vertical rotisserie that is reminiscent of traditional Turkish food markets.

“While the products are well-known in Turkey, there are few competitors here in the UAE. We plan to leverage Gulfood to create awareness of our new sub-brand, as well as maintaining loyalty and attracting perceived customers for our trading business,” said Reem al Ghussain, Marketing Executive at Acme Foodstuff. The food and beverage market here is consistently growing and expanding, and consumers are constantly looking for new innovative foods. We are sampling in an innovative way because we need to grab attention.

The Emirates’ Booba Coffee Shop LLC will introduce a variety of Asian-led products into the region where they are seeking further exposure, particularly their line of bubble tea.

“We will serve up a typical Taiwanese beverage derived from Jasmine Green Tea or Black Assam Tea that is flavoured and top with edible juice balls and jellies that are slurped through a straw. We plan to increase our portfolio within this region and launch retail locations at prime projects,” said Kirill Kossinski, Managing Director, Booba Coffee Shop LLC.

Commenting on the latest positive market indicators alongside the growth of the event, Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Exhibitions & Events Management, DWTC said that recent research demonstrated that the UAE market remains resilient and there are strong fundamentals for long-term optimism in the F&B sector. Innovation is coming into its’ own and the Gulfood exhibitor profile is awash with new concepts which are gradually transforming the end-user experience. This all holds out enormous opportunity for operators and suppliers who are looking to leverage the concepts and products within their own businesses and geographic footprints.

Gulfood 2017 will span more than 1 million square feet of exhibition space allocated to 5000 international exhibitors, including more than 1,000 new-to-show food and beverage producers bringing something innovative to the table. Segmented into eight of the largest commodity trading markets in separate halls, the event welcomes first-time participants Malta, Finland, Slovakia, Somalia and Azaerbaijan amongst more than 120 represented countries.



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