Major food processing industry heavyweights from around the world praised the inaugural edition of Gulfood Manufacturing, which debuted at end 2014 as Dubai World Trade Centre’s (DWTC’s) largest ever trade show launch. A sector-specific spin-off of February’s annual Gulfood trade show, the three-day Gulfood Manufacturing hosted over 1 100 companies from 56 countries, featured 26 official country pavilions, and attracted 26 329 visitors from 156 countries.
Chairman of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, His Excellency Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair comments: ‘The fact Gulfood Manufacturing was so big and popular on its first outing highlights the demand for a specialist show in this sector. 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.’
The event 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. Chairman of the Food & Beverage Manufacturers Business Group and managing director of Al Islami Foods, Saleh Abdullah Lootah says: ‘The growth of any economy requires industry, which requires machinery, and Gulfood Manufacturing brought that specialist equipment directly to us. Previously, local food processors had to travel to Germany or Italy and visit companies one by one to see the latest machinery. 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.’
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 receiving four regional orders for complete production lines at an estimated cost of US$800 000, 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 over the show’s opening two days.
Richard Kitchen of T Freemantle says: ‘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, CSO, 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 UK’s Processing and Packaging Machinery Association (PPMA) group, T Freemantle Limited’s sales were not the exception. One of PPMA managers, David Harrison adds: ‘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. The UK’s confidence in this show was phenomenal; we doubled the size of our group’s stand at February’s 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 Dubai’s 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.
Trixie LohMirmand from the DWTC Events & Exhibitions Department says: ‘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. 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 world’s fastest growing markets. Gulfood Manufacturing has the potential to be the springboard for multi-billion dollar investments in burgeoning food processing markets across the show’s catchment areas.’