Dubai – MENA Herald: A visit to the 2015 Gulfood exhibition – the annual Dubai World Trade Centre show which is now the world’s leading global food trading platform – has led to major global food industry ambitions for an Emirati businessman.

Abdulla Al Ruwaidi Al Dhaheri of Al Ain had focussed on the construction and contracting industries before deciding to expand into other sectors. His visit to Gulfood was intended to be exploratory but fired his latent ambitions.

“I went to Gulfood last year to find out what was going on in the food sector and to see if there were opportunities,” explained Al Dhaheri. “I found a supplier of the finest Indian basmati rice and then followed up with a strategic trip to view Indian factories. I selected a facility renowned for producing high quality– they even used lasers to confirm product purity.”

Following registration of the Dee Dee rice brand in the Middle East and South Africa, the company is now pursuing registration in a further 124 countries. To ensure the brand resonated with global consumers, Al Dhaheri contracted a specialist design consultancy to ensure his packaging stood out on supermarket shelves.

Additionally, collaborating with 4 FEST played a major role in elevating Dee Dee brand, which also helped in designing and producing the company’s stand at Gulfood 2016.

Seizing the opportunity Abdulla then established Ambition General Trading with a warehouse, office and distribution centre in Abu Dhabi and sales office in Dubai to supply his new brand of Dee Dee rice.

“We produced the design and the company structure – the product is packaged in India – and we import to the UAE. We sold first to the hospitality restaurant trade but will be expanding into the retail market and it will soon be available on supermarket shelves here in the Emirates.”

But Abdulla’s ambitions are much more far reaching and he’s now exhibiting at Gulfood 2016 – which ends at DWTC on 25 February – as the show’s platinum sponsor.

“We have two-fold reasons to be at the show. First to showcase the new brand to win over buyers from the Gulf, the Middle East and the world – we want to take this brand to all corners of the globe even to North and South America and this exhibition is where you can unearth opportunities,” said Abdulla.

“We will also be looking to explore other commodities which can be brought under the Dee Dee umbrella. We want the company to be one of the best in the Emirates and to achieve the Sheikh Khalifa Award for Excellence. From the UAE we can re-export to the world and although the economy may be facing some difficulties – we believe we have to invest to build a future. Now is not the time to stop investing – it’s the time to go forward. Markets are still there, it’s up to us to identify them, act on them and build for the future.”

Abdulla’s transition from visitor to exhibitor has underlined Gulfood’s reputation as a business catalyst, according to Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Exhibitions & Events Management, DWTC.

“Abdulla’s story really encourages us and demonstrates how this show delivers more trends and more trade,” said LohMirmand. “We look forward to hearing of his future successes which, with his level of ambition and determination, seem certain.”

More than 5,000 international companies from 120 countries are exhibiting at this year’s Gulfood. The show features 117 national and industry pavilions – five more than last year – with first-time group participation from Russia, Costa Rica, Belarus, Mauritius and New Zealand returning after a six-year break. DWTC is anticipating over 85,000 visitors from more than 170 countries at the show including international heads of state, ministers, government officials and national trade associations from five continents.