Gulfood Manufacturing, Gulfhost and three co-located events concluded today, having experienced global participation over a busy three days. As well as underscoring the recovery of the food production and foodservice sectors, the leading global trade event looks set to leave an enduring legacy for the industry, helping improve food security across the UAE, MENA region and beyond.
The UAE’s position as a global food manufacturing hub, thanks to a competitive business ecosystem well-supported by the government, is a thread that has run through all three days of the Food Tech Summit at Gulfood Manufacturing. A key session in the final morning focused on the reasons why the International Islamic Food Processing Association (IFPA) is relocating its head office to Dubai and choosing Dubai as its partner, as it seeks to diversify and strengthen the food supply chain to Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries, most of which currently face an underdeveloped food processing sector.
H.E. Eng. Mohammed Mousa Alameeri, Assistant Undersecretary, Ministry of Climate Change and Environment said, “We must act immediately and transform our food systems to become resilient to challenges. This means adopting measures that meet the needs of all, from smallholder farmers to multinational agribusiness firms. These measures must factor in emerging trends in the food production sector to be effective in the long term. We also need to support the creation of sustainable food supply chains. To address the food security challenges we are facing, we must build effective international partnerships towards our shared objective to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2: Zero Hunger.”
Immediately following the session, an MoU on cooperation in developing sustainable, innovative, and common solutions for industry was signed between the Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS) – of which IFPA is a subsidiary - and Food Tech Valley, a UAE-government led initiative designed to address food security locally, regionally, and globally.
The MoU will empower IFPA members with best practices in agritech by exchanging expertise and operational excellence through industry training, conferences and events, work collaboratively towards the establishment of IFPA headquarters within Food Tech Valley, foster robust relations between agricultural businesses across IOFS member states, and facilitate business connections and strategic partnerships in food-processing and the wider food supply chain.
H.E. Yerlan A. Baidaulet, director-General, IOFS commented, “ The International Islamic Food Processing Association (IFPA), a subsidiary of the Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS), is a very special organisation that can help enable food security for the OIC countries. Through close collaboration with the private sector, IFPA will help OIC member countries build food manufacturing capacity and expand trade opportunities.
With IFPA relocating to the UAE, and Dubai being its new headquarters, IFPA is in a geo-strategic location that has the infrastructure and track record to catalyse the improvement of food manufacturing value chain in OIC countries. In this direction, today's MoU with Food Tech Valley and our close collaboration with Gulfood Manufacturing are our first steps towards achieving food security within the OIC countries” he continued.
Meanwhile at Gulfhost’s Foodservice Excellence Summit, participants gained a better understanding of the innovations from around the globe that are inspiring changes in the hospitality sector, as well as trends in sustainable design in the F&B sector from some of the world’s leading hotel brands.
During his presentation on ‘Global insights for the future of restaurants, talking about the opportunities’, Benjamin Calleja, chief executive officer of Livit Design, highlighted how the industry is changing at unprecedented speed, and discussed the key trends and opportunities shaping the industry such as the shift towards experience-led dining, the use of AI and robotics, the movement away from chains and towards uniqueness, innovation labs, cloud kitchens and F&B industry players entering the metaverse. He also highlighted the challenges within the industry, and how to tackle these, including, “On the operational side… the biggest challenge is people. What we know, and what data is showing us, is that we have lost many people in the hospitality industry as a result of the pandemic. We’re hearing more and more that restaurants can’t find chefs and sous chefs… but for the equipment industry this is very important, and how they can create equipment that simplifies the operational side of kitchens.”
Meanwhile, in the regional finals of Gulfood YouthX, teams from Burj Al Arab, Sofitel The Obelisk, Jumeirah Al Qasr, and Grosvenor House went head to head. The team from Sofitel The Obelisk, made up of Yubak Bista, Sidney Mathews, and Sameera Shaw, and mentored by Russell Impiazzi, emerged victorious and scooped AED 100,000 worth of prizes, including a cash prize for each chef.
The five-month competition a culinary competition aimed at aspiring young chefs working in some of the region’s most iconic hotels and restaurants, will culminate in the international finale at Gulfood in February 2023, with the prize of a one- week internship at an international 3-Michelin star restaurant for the lucky winning team. The competition was organised in partnership with the International Centre for Culinary Arts.
Across the three days, over 2,500 exhibitors at Gulfood Manufacturing, and four co-located events – GulfHost, The Speciality Food Festival, ISM Middle East (previously Yummex ME) and Private Label Licensing ME have showcased their latest products and solutions, reaching a huge global audience of prospective buyers and suppliers, from across the entire value chain.
SIG, for example, has been discussing the future of packaging and how it is leading the way with its sustainable products and solutions. “Leading our industry in sustainability with our people, products and solutions, we are setting new industry standards in packaging. We are very excited to take part in Gulfood Manufacturing again this year with a stand showcasing our latest innovations and value-added solutions. Gulfood Manufacturing’s exhibition is the most important forum where industry leaders come together to discuss the latest trends and developments in the food and beverage industry and what they mean for the sector. We are thrilled to take part in the discussion on what the future of packaging is going to be and how we are shaping it today,” said Abdelghany Eladib, president and general manager at SIG Middle East and Africa.
Peggy Li, managing partner at sps;affinity commented from a visitor perspective, “Gulfood Manufacturing is an iconic anchor event of DWTC. Gulfood Manufacturing this year has really shown that Dubai is fully back in business. Plenty of new technologies on food packaging, and food safety storage-related machinery, were the highlight for me. Also seeing the headline chefs at Gulfhost’s Top Table truly shows the thriving restaurant scene of Dubai.”
Trixie LohMirmand, executive vice president, Dubai World Trade Centre commented, “We are delighted at the resounding success of all five shows, with three days of engaging discussions tackling the most pressing global issues facing the industry, and redefining its future. The UAE’s food manufacturing and foodservice sectors have a critical part to play not only in the UAE government’s strategic vision to diversify and grow the nation’s industrial base, but also in ensuring food security beyond the region. This year’s events have been our best yet and we look forward to seeing the positive growth of businesses as a result of the networking and deals that took place between individuals and brands from around the world.”