GCC foodservice industry predicted to reach US$ 25 billion by 2018



 The Speciality Food Festival - definitive platform for speciality foods in MENA

The foodservice industry continues to be a key economic driver for the GCC, with market value predicted to reach US$ 25 billion by 2018, according to PwC. Growth in this sector has been fuelled by a more health conscious consumer, driving a desire both globally and regionally for specialist foods, such as organic and halal, and putting pressure on the foodservice industry to meet this new demand.

The organic industry has seen a surge in consumer interest, with the global retail value expected to reach US$ 52 billion by 2021, according to Euromonitor International. Regionally, the organic industry has been supported by government-led initiatives, with the UAE recently announcing its strategic goal to increase organic produce. There has also been significant growth in the global halal industry, driven by halal tourism and an increased demand across the globe. Halal food and lifestyle products are predicted to value at US$ 3.7 trillion by 2019, according to the Global Islamic Economy Report.

The expansion of this year’s Speciality Food Festival is indicative of the strong market potential in the region. Taking place from 18-20 September 2017 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, the show is the original speciality food event for the MENA region, and the ultimate platform for suppliers, importers and exporters of gourmet, artisan, halal and organic products. The three-day event which, together with five other sector specific shows, takes place during the inaugural Dubai International Hospitality Week (DIHW).

Showcasing a diverse selection of fine foods, from artisanal olive oils, pickles and chutneys, speciality coffee and teas, to gourmet staples such as charcuterie, bakery and dairy, as well as some of the rarest spices and ingredients sought after by professional chefs in the regionThe internationally recognised trade show continues to attract exhibitors from across the world, including for the first time, Cameroon, Netherlands, Taiwan and Thailand. It has also witnessed a growing participation from France, with a 30% increase in French exhibitors this year.

“The regional F&B sector is amongst the world’s most discerning, driving demand for speciality ingredients, new innovations and trend-spotting. This is the role that The Speciality Food Festival plays for chefs and speciality food retailers across the region, bringing the latest and best products to Dubai, in one convenient place,” said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Exhibitions & Events Management (DWTC).

Incorporating the best of the region’s culinary masters, the ‘Chef’s Theater’ will see Michelin-starred and Dubai-based chefs host six masterclasses per day, including demonstrations of the best cooking techniques for fine food; seafood, organic, artisan cheese and gluten free. The event also encompasses specialist pizza cooking, master coffee tasters and culinary competitions to find the best chefs in Dubai.

With hundreds of new launches at the show, F&B professionals will be able to source up to 2,800 ingredients and foods that have previously not been available in the region, and that will stand out in a high-density dining market. 

One such exhibitor launching more than 80 new products at The Speciality Food Festival is Bridgeport Trading FZE. The company will also introduce its online shopping site Dlizia. Consumers are growing increasingly concerned over health and wellness, with vital nutrients and calorie counting becoming important factors for food choice. Foodservice operators are meeting this demand by creating premium menus with a focus on health ingredients such as organic vegetables, olive oil and avocado. Cristina Fernandez, Manager for the company said “We chose The Speciality Food Festival platform to officially launch our products into the Middle East market, as it is the most expansive speciality show in the region. All of our products are from exclusive Spanish brands and made with authentic natural ingredients, with no additives, preservatives, added colours or flavours.”

Equally specialist in its offering and showcasing its sustainable coffee range, Italian coffee company Lavazza, is exhibiting at The Speciality Food Festival to reach key buyers in the region. The hot drinks category is expected to record stable growth, strengthened by new product launches with a broadening range of flavours and varieties, such as herbal teas and Italian speciality coffee. Indicative of this growth, The Speciality Food Festival has seen a 28% growth in its beverage section this year. Karim Merhi, Marketing Manager at Lavazza, said: “The Speciality Food Festival gives us a platform to launch our expanding portfolio in the Middle East, and further demonstrates our continued commitment to the region. We are focused on bringing to market products designed to meet the evolving needs of customers. This year, we are launching a number of unique products, including ¡Tierra!, part of our sustainable coffee range, Kafa, an exclusive single origin blend of 100% Arabica coffee and, Prontissimo, a premium instant coffee with added microground beans, for a richer coffee experience.”

Showcasing the tremendous growth in the speciality coffee scene across the Middle East, is the inaugural National Barista & Latte Art Championship. The competition will be held to crown the UAE’s top baristas. The winner of the National Barista & Latte Art Championship will represent the UAE at the World Barista & Latte Art Championships staged in Amsterdam in June 2018.  All baristas are welcome to register to compete in either competition. To enter the National Barista Championship or Latte Art Championship, entrants can register their interest by emailing contact@scamena.com.

The 8th edition of The Speciality Food Festival, powered by Gulfood, is co-located with five other shows under the roof of Dubai International Hospitality Week (DIHW) – an initiative endorsed by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism). The other five shows are DWTC’s new GulfHost 2017 (the first dedicated hospitality and food services expo in the Middle East); yummex Middle East (jointly organised by DWTC and Kölnmesse) SEAFEX Middle East (organised by DWTC) and The Hotel Show and The Leisure Show (which are owned and organised by dmg events).

The Speciality Food Festival is open between from 18-20 September 2017 and is for trade and business professionals only. General public and persons under the age of 21 will not be permitted entry. One pass provides free access to all six trade shows across Dubai International Hospitality Week (DIHW).

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