Gulfood prompts F&B industry to rethink output

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(Dubai) – Gulfood, the world’s largest annual food and beverage trade exhibition, will mark its silver anniversary this year by uniting food businesses from six continents to rethink their output in an age of major innovation and evolution across the global F&B sector.

Ahead of Gulfood 2020, which runs at Dubai World Trade Centre, DWTC, from 16th-20th February, the UAE’s strategic position and status as a global trade hub has been underlined by the latest Gulfood Global Industry Outlook, produced by the show’s knowledge partner Euromonitor International, which forecasts the Middle East and North Africa, MENA, region will experience ‘above’ world average compound annual growth across most F&B categories through to 2023.

The report, which is available to registered Gulfood 2020 attendees, reveals that during the next decade world-class trade and commerce infrastructure in the Emirates can facilitate Asia Pacific’s emergence as the world’s biggest F&B consumer by 2030. The MENA region is also showing huge growth potential – both as a standalone market and as a trading corridor for business expansion inroads in Africa and Asia.

“MENA has emerged, with greater distribution of wealth and rapidly developing infrastructure, consumers have greater access to a wider range of foods and beverages,” the report states.

With MENA forecast to outstrip the average global growth in seven out of eight sectors, poultry and seafood offer the biggest potential as both are predicted to grow annually by 5.2 percent according to the report. Beverages are forecast to record 3.6 percent annual growth, dairy 2.9 percent, pulses, grains and cereals 3.8 percent, ingredients by 3.2 percent and confectionery and snacks by 3.3 percent. Only fats and oils fall short of the world average, but even this sector is forecast to record regional annual growth of 3.4 percent.

“While the growth potential is there, the regional industry faces significant opportunities and challenges which now beset the global sector – it is why we believe a major rethink is required as we embark on a new decade of innovation and transformation,” said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President of Exhibitions and Events at DWTC.

“As Gulfood 2020 brings this new era into focus, we anticipate the 25th edition will be a hotbed of innovation reflecting wider trends within an industry where demographic shifts such as urbanisation, migration, and the rise of the middle class are reshaping consumer lifestyles and purchasing decisions.”

With the global food industry in the midst of transformation across the entire production chain, innovation will hallmark exhibitor promotions at Gulfood 2020. To ease business facilitation, the show is divided into eight categories: beverages; dairy; fats and oils; wellness and free from; meat and poultry; power brands; pulses, grains and cereals; and world food, which will feature 120 national pavilions with niche and specialty products in 2020.

“Transformation is being felt across all Gulfood product sectors and industry players must rethink their approach to a segment in which natural ingredients, sugar reduction and free-from labels remain the F&B industry’s main priorities,” explained LohMirmand.