The 21st edition of the world’s largest annual food and hospitality trade show, Gulfood was officially opened by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance and Industry, at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).
Dubai’s Deputy Ruler was accompanied by His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing and the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority, Minister Alexander Tkachev of the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Agriculture alongside a host of ministers, ambassadors and dignitaries from the UAE, GCC and around the world.
The show, which features over 5,000 companies from 120 countries, 117 trade and industry pavilions and spans in excess of 1.29 million square feet of exhibition space will run until Thursday, 25 February and is expected to draw a record trade attendance of more than 85,000 visitors from over 170 countries, including international heads of state, ministers, government officials and national trade associations from five continents.
“As a strategic investment platform, Gulfood connects the world’s leading food and hospitality industry companies and brands, national policy-makers and innovative thought-leaders,” said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, DWTC, organiser of Gulfood. “The show facilitates multi-million dollar transactions as the global food industry meets, networks, sources new products and trades out of Dubai – now one of the world’s most prominent international trading hubs. Gulfood is where the big deals are made, company to company and country to country.”
With GCC food imports currently worth $53.1 billion according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, Gulfood’s global trading status has attracted the show’s biggest tally of national and food export industry groups which, at 117, is five more than last year. These pavilions include first-time representation from Russia, Costa Rica, Belarus, Mauritius and New Zealand returning after a six-year break.
This year’s expanded exhibitor line-up – participating via national and trade association pavilions or on dedicated company stands – includes finished food producers, bulk commodity wholesalers, distributors and exporters, as well as the show’s largest-ever collection of hospitality equipment suppliers.
Gulfood 2016 also features the Halal World Food show-within-a-show and the globe’s biggest, annual Halal food sourcing trade event. This year Halal World Food features over 800 Halal food suppliers – 15% up on last year – vying for trade in a sector predicted to be worth US$2.537 trillion by 2019 according to the latest Global Islamic Economy Report.