Gulfood’s Halal Investment Conference, held alongside the exhibition, will look at global Halal certification issues, business opportunities for Halal products worldwide, and GCC-specific issues for importing Halal products. The conference will also see presentations from Jafza, site of Dubai’s Halal Zone, and French poultry producer Tilly-Sabco.
“The global Halal food market accounts for a fifth of the world’s food trade and Halal World Food will ensure Gulfood continues to play a leading role in the growth of the Halal food sector – a key enabler in realising Dubai’s vision to become the global Islamic economy capital,” said Trixie LohMirmand, senior vice president for exhibitions and events management at DWTC, organiser of Gulfood.
“UAE entities such as the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology are spearheading pioneering initiatives in the area of Halal food certification and standardisation and Halal World Food provides a touch-point for progress in these initiatives to be relayed to a truly global audience of international food producers and suppliers,” she added.
Billion dollar dealing
In the exhibition itself, many firms are expecting to sign significant new contracts during the course of the show. National trade bodies are out in force, promoting companies from their countries looking to gain a foothold in the Middle East.
“With billions of dollars’ worth of trading taking place directly on the show floor, business transactions at our milestone 20th event are expected to record their highest level to date – further enhancing Dubai’s position as the world’s leading trading hub and contributing to the growth and development of the UAE’s increasingly diverse economy,” said LohMirmand.
Many companies are here not just to promote their own products, but also to source new suppliers for their operations. Caker, an Egyptian cake and snack food company, imports all of its nuts, a major ingredient category for its products, and so is looking to both buy and sell while at Gulfood.
“We have two aims: the first aim is to expand our supplier database – I have a tour each day around suppliers’ stands, from USA, Argentina, for example. The other aim is to make new markets for out exports, to gain new customers, to gain more market share in countries we already export to,” said Heba Mohamed Abd El Gaffar, purchasing manager at Caker.
Other exhibitors said the show offered good networking opportunities beyond customers, and allowed them to meet partners or competitors they might otherwise not make contact with. But some said they had the impression that fewer small companies were exhibiting at the show compared to previous years, possibly a sign that the competition and expense of exhibiting at the show meant that larger companies were better placed to attend.
LohMirmand said: “Gulfood has grown consistently over the last 28 years to become a significant driver for global food and beverage markets, owing mainly to [Dubai’s] strategic positioning between East and West, its world-class infrastructure and the realisation of its ambition to become a global business hub.”