Wednesday 12, October 2016

Dubai – MENA Herald: Local, regional and international participation from ingredients, bulk and commodity suppliers at Gulfood Manufacturing – the Middle East’s biggest food manufacturing, processing and packaging, logistics and materials handling exhibition – has increased by more than a third year-on-year, according to Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), the exhibition organiser.
Attributed to the global food processing and supply industry’s response to increasing regional demand for convenience and health products, some 407 exhibitors from 41 countries are lining up to promote fine and functional ingredients and the latest bulk and commodity ingredients, innovations, tastes and flavours.
The increase in participation has resulted in this year’s Ingredients Middle East, a specialised subsidiary of Gulfood Manufacturing which runs from November 7-9 at DWTC, spanning 25,034 square metres – a 36 per cent increase on floor space from last year.
“Exhibitor feedback suggests this year’s show is uncovering new regional trends with demand for natural and health-related products on an upward curve,” explained Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Exhibitions & Events Management, DWTC.
Industry heavyweight Döhler, the Germany-headquartered global producer of technology-driven natural ingredients, ingredient systems and integrated solutions for the food manufacturing sector, said an increasingly discerning regional consumer base is driving change.
“Healthy and natural products are in high demand in the region and the potential will grow further with time. Imported products in retail and hospitality indicate demand for more innovations in this direction and we expect the local manufacturing industry will soon be compelled to adapt to these forces. Local policymakers have also been urged in some quarters to moot a ‘Sugar Tax’ which will further compel manufacturers,” said Shashank Vengsarkar, Managing Director of Dohler Middle East.
“Most Döhler products are being conceptualised towards catering to these requirements including natural flavour and colour solutions, as well as a wide range of integrated health and nutrition solutions, such as sugar reduction solutions, cereal and malt ingredients, tea and botanical extracts just to name a few.”
At Gulfood Manufacturing, Döhler plans to roll out creative solutions which, it says, will go some way to helping Middle East food producers keep up with changing demand. “The range of innovations are broad and extend from high-quality dry ingredients and dry ingredient systems, integrated health and nutrition solutions, natural colour solutions and coating systems for confectionery to new flavour creations and applications specific to fruit ingredients,” added Vengsarkar.
Industry powerhouse IFFCO says “healthy food” has huge potential in the Middle East, where campaigns have led to greater consumer awareness of health related issues. The UAE-based Group is planning to conduct its own education initiative focused on ‘Market Product Trends: Naturally Lowering The Glycaemic Index’ at this year’s show. The initiative, says IFFCO, is part of its focussed commitment to health and wellness.
“IFFCO’s mandate is to provide quality, healthy food products for customers to enjoy as part of their balanced diet and wellness-driven lifestyle. The Group’s nutrition strategy removes or reduces ingredients that consumers are concerned about, while fortifying products with health-enhancing formulations. Our product development teams are constantly reformulating products to lower or remove trans-fat, eliminate artificial colours and flavours, and minimise saturated fat, salt and sugar,” said Fernando Alberto Arias, CEO-Food Services, IFFCO Group.
“Throughout the region as federal and local government organisations focus greater attention on promoting healthy lifestyles to combat rising incidences of diabetes, there has been increasing industry attention on sugar reduction in fizzy drinks, salt reduction in packed products and clear food labelling to help assist wise buyer choices,” explained LohMirmand.
“These new F&B prerequisites are influencing the base ingredient, bulk and commodity products on display at Gulfood Manufacturing, as well as tens of thousands of finished food products on show at our niche food events. The industry is changing, exhibitors are adapting to the change and regional manufacturers will follow suit, increasing investment levels in equipment, raw materials, ingredients and finished products.”
Gulfood Manufacturing 2016 is an impressive 20 per cent larger than last year’s event and will see 1,600 international food manufacturers, suppliers and industry service providers fill 13 DWTC halls. The show will be split into three specialist areas across more than 77,000 square metres of exhibition space: Ingredients Middle Eas, ProPack Middle East covering automation, processing equipment and packaging machinery, and Logistics Solutions Middle East for firms involved in materials handling, transport, IT and technology solutions, warehousing and facilitators and service providers.
Gulfood Manufacturing 2016 will feature exhibitors from 52 countries including 29 official national pavilions including production machinery leaders Austria, Germany, Italy, Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. The show will also welcome first-time pavilions representing Indonesia, Ireland, Russia and South Africa. DWTC says it will also roll out its most extensive Hosted Buyer Programme for the show which will be sponsored by Tetra Pak. More than 2,000 of the region’s most prominent industrial buyers are being invited to the event and supported with complimentary flights, accommodation and transport to and from the show.
The show will also host a series of specialist conferences, including the Food Logistics Forum – the region’s only F&B specific logistics event to probe critical issues shaping the future profitability and sustainability of the entire food value chain.