Mega Event Gulfood to play a leading role in tackling global food challenges, kick-starting a pivotal year for the UAE in 2023

Mega Event Gulfood to play a leading role in tackling global food challenges, kick-starting a pivotal year for the UAE in 2023
Photo - Dubai World Trade Centre

Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) has announced the largest annual global food and beverage sourcing event in the world, Gulfood, will take place from 20-24 February 2023. Bringing together F&B communities from across the world in Dubai to chart the way forward for this rapidly evolving sector, the 28th edition of the show is set to be 30% larger than the revious years, with 1,500 of the 5000+ confirmed exhibitors new to the show.

Gulfood 2023’s record scale is due in part to the introduction of Gulfood Plus, a brand-new bespoke hall, where first-time exhibitors will showcase product innovations across 10,000 m2 of added floor space.

Leading global brands exhibiting include - Unilever, GMG, Americana, Agthia, Fonterra, McCain, Monin, USAPEEC, Hunter Foods, ASMAK, Minerva Foods, U.S. Dairy Export Council, Frinsa Group, Emirates Snacks Foods, and Al Rabie to name a few; as well as newcomers including Brazilian food processing company: BRF Global and Agricultural, and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).

Photo - Dubai World Trade Centre

Globally, a series of world events are causing inflation and a rise in the cost of consumer goods, food, utilities, and fuel. The food industry has a huge role to play in helping reverse these trends and moving towards healthier, more resilient food systems. With the UAE preparing to host COP 28 in 2023, Gulfood will serve as a critical opportunity to convene the global F&B industry at the start of the year and continue the shift towards more sustainable food production and consumption.

“With the ongoing food crisis, combined with climate shocks, and rising costs of food, 2023 will be an important year for turning the corner and getting back on track while elevating healthy and diversified diets that are sustainable for people and the planet. Gulfood and the UAE will be at the heart of many of these conversations and have a unique vantage point from which to lead the way” commented Trixie LohMirmand, executive vice president, Dubai World Trade Centre.

The source of the world

With the UAE acting as the central hub of all these changes, Gulfood will be at the heart of the business community, the source of propelling sector conversations from agenda to action, bringing the industry together to convene in the first key F&B industry event of the year, unveiling new products and innovations, and creating an international platform for business opportunities including 125 country pavilions with first-time participants: Armenia, Cambodia and Iraq, and welcoming back returning pavilions from South Africa and Australia.

Sustainability at the fore

Launching in 2023 Gulfood presents Gulfood Green - a new global sustainability initiative, to ignite and continue conversations within the wider F&B community to create a momentous shift towards more resilient and sustainable food production and consumption. The objective is to raise visibility and influence key strategic food industry champions for sustainable food systems transformation in the lead-up to COP28 and set a precedent for the future.

As part of the initiative, Gulfood has also launched its own Gulfood Global Forest, an international tree-planting campaign and nature-based solution to the events’ sustainability commitments, to conserve, restore and grow trees across the globe to help curb climate change. The food industry is known to be a major carbon emitter and the Gulfood Forest will enable stakeholders of the event from exhibitors and visitors to speakers, chefs, and the wider public to get involved and plant trees to help restore global forests. Gulfood Green has already started planting in four countries: UAE, Uganda, Ecuador, and Indonesia, with fruit-bearing trees planted in several locations to enable families and local communities to become self-sufficient. The trees already planted will support 2000 families and sequester 1 million kg of CO2 over the trees’ lifetime. Gulfood Greens’ commitment is to quadruple the number of trees and country expansion by COP28.

The theme of sustainability will be carried through multiple verticals of the event, with topics being discussed at the conference including Working towards zero food waste and making the dairy industry less carbon intensive, to building and securing viable, sustainable food businesses. Speakers include - Paul Newnham – Executive Director of SDG2 Advocacy Hub; Carlos Frunze Garza, advocate for sustainability and Executive Chef of Teible; Kylie Woodham – General Manager of Magners Farm; and Kamesh Ellajosyula - President and Chief Innovation & Quality Officer of Olam Food Ingredients.

Gulfood will also put the spotlight, for the very first time, on global chefs spearheading biodiversity in the restaurant industry, with masterclasses and workshops by top chefs creating real change, through sustainability and zero waste initiatives including - Rasmus Munk of Alchemist in Copenhagen and Peeter Pihel, sustainable restaurant advocate and Head Chef of Fotografiska.

The Gulfood Green Awards will also take place this year, with submissions open to the industry, in five categories: Green Foodservice Industry Award, Waste Management Award; Green Food Innovation Award; Sustainability Professional of the Year, and Sustainability Company of the Year. The Gulfood Green Awards Celebrate excellence in sustainability and encourage green best practices across the Food & Beverage Industry.

Impactful conversations to spur change

The Gulfood Inspire Conference will champion core themes of -

  • Sustainability

  • Quality

  • Access

Ministers, global F&B value chain leaders, entrepreneurs, civil society, and industry experts will lead a series of keynotes, panel discussions, and showcases, addressing timely topics including - Sustainable Food Production; Food Security and Sovereignty; Agri-Food and Food Tech Investment; Innovations and Web 3 Opportunities; Nutrition Education and Access; Waste Reduction; Securing International Supply Chains; and Food Services Trends, Challenges and Innovations. Confirmed first-time speakers include: Yazen Al Kodmani - head - Operations, Emirates Bio Farm; Alessio D'Antino - co-founder and chief executive officer, Forward Fooding; Neha Sood - UAE market lead, Zomato; Rajiv Warrier, chief executive officer, Choithrams and Ruben Brunsveld, deputy director - EMEA, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.

Gulfood has partnered with a global award-winning market intelligence agency, Mintel, to curate a thought leadership program for the F&B industry. As the events’ Strategic Knowledge Partner, the agency has undertaken exploratory interviews with leaders across the food & drink industry, covering topics including sustainability and inflation. Experts and leaders from around the globe, have shared challenges and priorities as food & drink professionals to collectively look to understand the key challenges the food & drink industry faces and the solutions businesses are adopting to overcome them.

The results from the research will be shared in a whitepaper in the weeks leading up to Gulfood 2023 and to be more widely used across the industry to provide guidance and inspiration to businesses at this critical time.

Dubai world cuisine movement

Gulfood Plus will be the home of Top Table this year, where the world’s best curators of award-winning dining experiences will showcase their signature dishes. Gulfood 2023 will launch the ‘Dubai World Cuisine’ Movement, which aims to provide a platform for homegrown chefs to collaboratively shape the cultural identity of Dubai and establish it on the world’s culinary map.

For 2023, Singapore has been selected, for the nation's vibrant and diverse culinary scene from Michelin-starred restaurants to UNESCO-recognised street food. The program will see six iconic chefs from Singapore hosted in 6 restaurants in Dubai in February with masterclasses and fringe dinners outside of the event, across the city. Two months later in May, the Dubai chefs will then be hosted in Singapore for six dinners under the umbrella of Dubai World Cuisine by Gulfood.

A star-studded lineup of internationally renowned Michelin star chefs participating in the program includes- Melbourne born Michael Wilson of Marguerite in Singapore, Winner of the Michelin Guide Young Chef of the Year, Louis Han of Naeum; and hailing from Liguria, Italy, Daniele Sperindio of Art in Singapore. Michelin star homegrown talent includes- Gregoire Berger of Ossiano, Salam Dakkak of Bait Maryam, and Saverio Sbaragli of Al Muntaha - all participating in Gulfood for the very first time. Alongside Top Table, Chef Talks will offer insights and inspiration from global chefs, food editors, and influencers in the culinary world.

The leaders of tomorrow

As the first-of-its-kind launch-pad for empowering promising F&B talent with a career-changing experience, the Gulfood YouthX Challenge grand finale winners, competing at Gulfood 2023, will be rewarded for their contribution to the region’s influence on the global gastronomic scene with a career-changing internship at an international 3-Michelin star restaurant.

In another event first, YouthX Academy Acceleration has been created to provide a pathway for culinary students to fast-track their careers in the world of professional gastronomy, the YouthX Academy Challenge will see teams of talented young chefs from top international culinary schools compete with each other for the chance to secure a full-time position at one of the most coveted restaurants in the region.

Foodverse

Also taking place at the new Gulfood Plus - the Food Metaverse on the blockchain will give visitors the chance to discover the incredible opportunities that the food ecosystem is presented with through Web 3.0, and learn about emerging technology trends that will pave the way for future innovations in the F&B industry.

Gulfood innovation awards

The Gulfood Innovation Awards are bestowed to the industry's revolutionary pioneers, honoring excellence in new product development and championing ground-breaking new products, launched within the past calendar year. Thousands of entries have already been submitted in 10 categories including- best beverage product, best organic product, best-frozen product, best packaging design, and best plant-based product.

Enabling global connections

Gulfood will create a platform for companies in the food industry to present their products, services, and solutions to influential buyers from across the globe, facilitating intercontinental business deals and serving as the ultimate focal point for the world of food and beverage sourcing. Over 10,000 meetings have already been scheduled and confirmed via the show’s meetings program. Tickets for Gulfood are currently on sale at a special rate of AED 295 for a 5-day pass (instead of the regular full price of AED 495) for a limited period only.

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