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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - Gulfood 2020 will build on its 25-year legacy as an on-point trend tracker and robust business facilitator, while continuing to strengthen its position as a springboard for introducing new products and food solutions in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, experts said ahead of the event.
The five-day show, which runs from February 16-20, 2020 at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), will also continue to be an important access platform in developing relations with partners and distributors.
For its silver edition, Gulfood's knowledge forum will tackle pressing issues and imminent industry opportunities under the show theme 'Rethinking Food.'
"We are engaging the industry's leading experts to assess what needs to be done differently in the F&B industry across five core pillars: technological advancements, government and policy-making, marketing practices, lifestyle and markets including developing economies," explained LohMirmand. "For exhibitors, they would be hard-pressed to find a forum where they can increase their margins by connecting with competitive suppliers of cutting-edge product innovations, as well as household name brands. They will unearth business opportunities from leading companies and visitors, who are hungry to keep up with emerging trends and source new and innovative products."
Elsewhere, the Gulfood Startup Programme, where entrepreneurs demonstrate how their innovation, will light the path to a smarter food tomorrow, while the Gulfood Innovation Awards will celebrate and reward excellence across brands and products. The Discover Zone, where the spotlight falls on product releases, will feature new categories for an enhanced shopping experience, while the Chef Tours will provide a guided tour on the latest culinary trends and adventures.
Truebell, an importer, wholesaler, distributor and exporter with more than 60 brands in its portfolio, is leveraging Gulfood 2020 as part of a strategy to tap into an expanding food industry in Saudi Arabia. With the GCC's largest country expected to benefit from approximately $59 billion of investment by 2021, according to the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), Truebell plans to expand its exclusive distribution of key brands within the Kingdom.
"Trends have evolved in line with Saudi Arabia's changing demographics, increased disposable incomes and maturing food preferences with demand for varied food stuff, organic ingredients and healthy food products expanding well beyond the most popular and recognisable local brands," said Bhushant J. Gandhi, divisional manager of Retail & Food Service, Truebell.
With growing consumer preferences for healthy food products, the total consumption of organic, gourmet and health products within Saudi Arabia topped $27 billion in 2019, according to SAGIA.
"With 29 million residents - 50 per cent of which are under the age of 25 - Saudi Arabia has the largest population in the GCC and arguably the population most susceptible to Western consumer food trends," explained Gandhi. "Saudi consumers are becoming more health conscious than ever and probiotics, whether in supplement format or in food and beverages, are becoming increasingly popular due to the health benefits linked to them."
Al Rabie Saudi Foods Co., one of Saudi Arabia's largest beverage producers, is also aiming to grow its regional market share by promoting its constant consumer-led initiative: healthy and tasty beverages in consumer-friendly, handy and environmental-friendly Tetra Pak packs that come in different sizes and formats for everyone.
"The focus on no-sugar-added beverages in our unique flavors is part of our continuous pursuit of innovation and product development with the aim of meeting consumer needs and the latest market developments," Ghassan Majdali, deputy chief commercial officer - Marketing, "The industry, the market and the show have developed in tandem and growth has been dramatic," explained Trixie LohMirmand, executive vice president, Exhibitions & Events, DWTC. "The show's demand consistently outstrips space availability. Yet DWTC is nothing if not innovative and we can assure visitors and exhibitors that we will continue to closely monitor the industry and respond to and reflect trends."
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