A record number of operators are expected to take part in Gulfood 2017, the international showcase for food concepts taking place in Dubai from 26 February 26 to 2 March.
There are already 400 UAE-based F&B operators confirmed to attend the event, which takes place at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).
Research by Euromonitor International suggests the F&B market will be worth AED82 billion to the UAE by the year 2020.
These figures follow research by F&B advisory firm KPMG who said “the UAE’s limitless investment appetite is down to to its highly diverse, growing and relatively young population characterised by experimental tastes and preferences”.
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KPMG’s Partner and Head of Retail in the Lower Gulf Anuraj Bajpai said: “Innovation, whether in terms of menu enhancements or new ways of understanding consumer preferences is a differentiator.
“The wide array of formats, concepts and cuisines offered in the UAE mirrors its varied demographics.
“We understand the attraction of bringing something completely new to the market.
“Operators need to understand and predict customer behaviour – which can be challenging. There is merit in developing concepts that already have wider acceptance and appeal.”
Trixie LohMirmand, senior vice president, exhibitions and events management, DWTC, said the UAE’s F&B market remains resilient.
“There are strong fundamentals for long-term optimism in the F&B sector,” she said.
“Innovation is coming into its’ own and the Gulfood exhibitor profile is awash with new and exciting concepts which are gradually transforming the end-user experience.
“This all holds out enormous opportunity for operators and suppliers who are looking to leverage the concepts and products within their own businesses and geographic footprints.”
Exhibitors are already upping their game to stand out from the crowd.
For example, UAE exhibitors Acme Foodstuff Trading, will be showcasing its spices, seeds and herbs.
“The food and beverage market here is consistently growing and expanding, and consumers are constantly looking for new innovative foods,” said Reem al Ghussain, marketing executive.
“We are sampling in an innovative way because we need to grab attention.”
The Emirates’ Booba Coffee Shop LLC will also be at the event, determined to make an impact.
“There is no doubt that innovative food ideas and concepts will evolve over the coming years in the UAE,” said Kirill Kossinski, managing director.
“Being somehow different and special in taste, look, and service was always a vital factor for Dubai’s food industry. That is now spreading.”