This year I had the pleasure of attending the 21st edition of the world famous Gulfood exhibition. Hosted at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) the show attracted a record number of food industry groups, all with their eye on tapping into the GCC’s $53 billion food and beverage imports market. In total, a staggering 5,000 companies from all over the globe took part in the event, along with more than 85,000 visitors from over 100 different countries.
The moment you arrive at the DWTC, you know you’re amongst the finest food exporters in the world. The variety and quality of products on show is quite literally astounding. The innovative range of emerging technology, coupled with the most knowledgeable food industry experts combine to make the largest annual food trade exhibition in the world. The organisers of the event were nothing short of superb, channelling the thousands of visitors through extensive walkways with easy access to their desired location.
Free food samples and impressively designed stands were spread out as far as the eye could see. Friendly faces and promotional staff were on every corner, eager to engage in conversation and network their products. Of course, behind all the fanfare was the fact that people were attending for one reason…to do business!
Talking to a range of exhibitors throughout the week, I realised just how important this event has become. People rely on Gulfood to source ingredients, promote their products and of course acquire valued distribution partners. Many said it was the only event in their calendar and was all they needed in order to achieve their distribution goals. Others described the event as an ‘essential’ part of their working calendar, something they ‘couldn’t afford to miss’.
From Links Group’s perspective, and of course the UAE in general, there was even better news. Many suppliers, especially those within the technology and machinery sectors, expressed a keen interest in establishing a presence within the UAE. Business opportunities had presented themselves at the exhibition and many were exploring the option of establishing their business here in Dubai. Naturally this is great news, not only for Gulfood as an event, but for the food industry and of course the UAE as a whole.