Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, UAE’s Minister of Economy, opened Gulfood Manufacturing, the largest food and beverage processing and packaging show for the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA), which has reconvened the global industry at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) to power smart innovations in food manufacturing and reignite live, face-to-face big business opportunities over the next three days.
Al Marri said the UAE today occupying a leading position in the region’s food trade industry, attributing this success to the wise vision of the country’s leadership. The UAE’s trade in food commodities contributed more than 7 percent of the country's GDP for 2020, and more than 8.4 percent of the non-oil GDP for the same year at current prices.
He explained that the UAE continues to position itself as a major global trade and investment, and manufacturing partner in the food sector, as trade in food commodities accounted for 5.5 percent of the country's total non-oil foreign trade volume during the first half of 2021 and about 6.2 percent in 2020.
Over the past five years, from 2016 to 2020, the volume of the UAE’s trade in food commodities grew by 21 percent with a cumulative volume of AED444 billion. During 2020, despite the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic on food and beverage trade in particular, the country achieved 3 percent growth in its food and beverage exports compared with 2019. In the first half of 2021, the country’s trade of food commodities grew 9 percent compared with period last year.
"Gulfood Manufacturing has fostered its leading position as a global platform for F&B supply chains and highlights the UAE position as a regional and global hub. The show has become a rich platform of innovative and digital solutions that harness technology to develop enhanced products, services, and solutions for food manufacturing and trade. We are confident that the show will drive further economic activities and incentivise added-value business practices by facilitating best practices exchange, which is aligned with the national UAE objectives," Al Marri said.
"F&B related economic activities are a key pillar for various comprehensive national strategies that aim to develop the operational framework and launch projects and initiatives that contribute to the economic and social development in the UAE throughout the coming decades. This falls in line with the vision of our wise leadership, the Principles of the 50, and the UAE Centennial 2071, and most importantly the economic diversification strategy that aims to increase exports and attract further investments; as well as Operation 300 billion, which aims to enhance national strategies and Food Security Strategy," he added.
Al Marri also stressed that Gulfood Manufacturing provides an ideal platform for partnerships and discussions on the potential development of the industry through innovation and technology to address key challenges regionally and globally related to production, manufacturing, sustainability, supply chains, meeting consumer demand, and responsible consumption culture.
Al Marri then toured the mega show, which runs until 9 November, in the presence of government officials, international trade representatives and high-profile industry delegates.
Together with its three sector-specific co-located regional industry leading events: yummex Middle East, the most established sourcing platform for the sweets and snacks sector; the Speciality Food Festival, for the gourmet and fine food industry, and Private Label and Licensing Middle East, the only Private Label and Licensing exhibition in the Middle East and North Africa, the mega industry showcase spans 15 DWTC halls featuring 1,250 exhibitors from 55 countries.
This week’s event is a panorama of the sector’s future and a hi-tech showpiece of industry automation driving post-pandemic transformation of a crucial economic segment to meet shifting consumer trends, sustainability demands, logistics challenges and food security needs.
The show is packed with solutions to transform an industry that is now among the top three contributors to the UAE economy and will address the sector’s sustainable packaging, automation, and global F&B supply chain dilemmas.
Trixie LohMirmand, Executive Vice President, Events Management, DWTC, said, "This is a watershed moment for the industry and the show and associated FoodTech Summit will provide first-hand insights into the megatrends and innovations redefining food manufacturing locally, regionally and globally."
Highlights on day one included the opening of the much-anticipated, agenda shaping FoodTech Summit and a thought-provoking keynote panel discussion titled: 'In conversation with manufacturing leaders' and more.
Gulfood Manufacturing’s exhibitor line-up includes many of the world’s leading manufacturing innovators and global food processing and packaging players who are unveiling sector-breaking production advancements. Visitors can get first-hand experience of the innovations via Gulfood Manufacturing’s Innovation Tours.
Gulfood Manufacturing features six dedicated and interdependent show pillars: Supply Chain Solutions, Ingredients, Printing & Labeling, Processing, Packaging as well as Automation and Control.
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