More than 2,500 food, foodservice and hospitality professionals will gather in Dubai next week for Gulfood 2008 as the value of the Middle East market reaches $31 billion (Dh113.8bn) annually.
The number of participants during this year’s exhibition is said to increase by 20 per cent – the largest in the event’s history.
According to organiser Dubai World Trade Centre, international companies are increasingly interested in the regional reach of Gulfood and its access to over two billion consumers, while local firms are looking to establish a higher profile across highly competitive food sectors.
“The Gulf region is growing fast and Dubai has been witnessing a tremendous boom. The number of new properties and projects are itself an indication of the expanding market,” said Helal Saeed Al Marri, director-general, DWTC.
“Economically and socially, food and foodservices are hugely important sectors, as they cater to the growth and development of the tourism and hospitality industries. Gulfood is playing an increasingly important role on the global stage, and has evolved into a major forum for business and knowledge exchange amongst leading international buyers and suppliers,” said Al Marri.
Of the Dh113.8bn Middle East foodservice market, the GCC states account for almost $9.5bn (Dh34.8bn), with meat, poultry and fish accounting for 30 per cent of purchases.
The 13th edition of Gulfood will take place from February 24 to 27 and is completely sold out. The event will now occupy all available space at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The organisers predict this year’s show will witness a number of multi million dollar deals signed throughout the four days.
New for 2008 is the Restaurant and Café Middle East exhibition held alongside Gulfood, which will support companies in every part of the supply chain, including interior designers, contract furnishing suppliers and kitchen equipment companies.
The 3rd Dubai International Food Safety Conference, organised by Dubai Municipality, will also examine the challenges and issues in the Middle East market, with speakers from around the world addressing a variety of topics.
Gulfood grows by 20%