Global Food Processing Heavyweights Laud Inaugural Gulfood Manufacturing

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Major food processing industry heavyweights from around the world have universally praised the inaugural edition of Gulfood Manufacturing, which debuted earlier this month as Dubai World Trade Centres largest-ever trade show launch.

A sector-specific spin-off of Februarys annual Gulfood trade show, the three-day Gulfood Manufacturing hosted more than 1,100 companies from 56 countries including 26 official country pavilions - and attracted 26,329 visitors from 156 countries.

Billed as the largest dedicated food processing trade event in the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia (MEASA), the runaway success of Gulfood Manufacturing has prompted a host of local, regional and international food processing authorities to laud the inaugural show which ran over 50,000m of DWTC exhibition space as a tailor-made platform to drive investment in the regional food processing sector.

The fact Gulfood Manufacturing was so big and popular on its first outing highlights the demand for a specialist show in this sector, said His Excellency Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The industry is always interested in discovering the next big thing in food processing and this exhibition opens up doors for businesses to expand and learn from each other. As a business channel, Gulfood Manufacturing will drive investment in the regional food processing sector as local and regional companies invest in equipment and machinery to improve their manufacturing and packaging lines.

Having provided a one-stop-shop for regional food processors to source the latest ingredients, processing machinery, packaging equipment and logistics, warehousing and cold chain solutions to enable faster, cheaper and cost-effective production of safer and more reliable products, Gulfood Manufacturing was praised for bringing the very best of cutting-edge, international business improvement solutions to Dubai.

The growth of any economy requires industry, industry requires machinery and Gulfood Manufacturing brought that specialist equipment directly to us, said Saleh Abdullah Lootah, Chairman of the Food & Beverage Manufacturers Business Group and Managing Director of Al Islami Foods. Previously, local food processors had to travel to Germany or Italy and visit companies one by one to see the latest machinery it was very difficult. The fast-moving consumer goods industry is constantly changing and it is not easy to stay on top of technology innovations or consumer trends. As a dedicated platform, Gulfood Manufacturing eradicated these problems and raised the bar; it will take the local and regional food processing industry to the next level. The show recognises there is a great opportunity for local companies and gives everyone a chance to gain more know-how and to buy on-the-spot - it hit the nail on the head.

Having welcomed leading machinery and equipment providers from every corner of the world, hundreds of exhibitors reported sales comfortably exceeded their expectations. In addition to Chinese firm Foshan Choctaek Machinery Mould Ltd. receiving four regional orders for complete production lines at an estimated cost of US$800,000 (AED 2.94 million), Claranor - a French company providing packaging sterilisation solutions for the beverage and dairy industries - closed a lucrative deal with Masafi Oman to install and integrate flat cap steriliser machines to ensure safe and clean bottled products. Elsewhere, UK-based T Freemantle Ltd. reported sales of more than 200,000 (AED 1.5 million) over the shows opening two days.
We sold three of our small, two-flap sealing machines, a starter model for companies looking to manufacture food products, frozen foods, desserts and bakery goods, and two of our high-speed, fully-automated systems - a high-end production machine more suitable for higher volumes - to buyers from the UAE, Saudi, Qatar and Lebanon, said Richard Kitchen, CSO, T Freemantle Ltd. We were a little concerned that Gulfood Manufacturing, as a new show, might not get the same footfall as Gulfood but the spenders were at Gulfood Manufacturing and they were there to buy machinery, in some cases right off the stand.

As one of 38 companies participating under the UKs Processing and Packaging Machinery Association (PPMA) group, David Harrison, the PPMAs Commercial and International Manager, said T Freemantle Limiteds sales were not the exception.

The general feedback has been superb right from the opening; our exhibitors witnessed a record number of leads and enquiries, machinery selling straight off the stands, customers coming back to negotiate payment the least happy person was our shipping agent as there was a lot less coming home, said Harrison. The UKs confidence in this show was phenomenal; we doubled the size of our groups stand at Februarys Gulfood and our companies were rewarded for it.

With GCC food imports forecast to reach US $ 53.1 billion by 2020 according to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit, officials from DWTC, the show organiser, maintain Gulfood Manufacturing is perfectly-positioned to leverage Dubais strategic position as the recognised manufacturing and logistics gateway between East and West and the primary re-export hub to emerging countries and economies across MEASA.

Gulfood Manufacturing underlined how major international suppliers across the global food processing, packaging and manufacturing sectors view the Middle East as a key growth territory, said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice-President, Events & Exhibitions Department, DWTC. With the creation of this tailored investment platform, we have accelerated international equipment, logistics and cold chain suppliers access to securing operational footholds in one of the worlds fastest growing markets. Gulfood Manufacturing has the potential to be the springboard for multi-billion dollar investments in burgeoning food processing markets across the shows catchment areas.

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