Saed Al Awadi, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Exports
Dubai Exports, the export promotion agency of the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai, is leading a showcase of the UAE food and beverages sector at Gulfood 2013, the world’s largest annual food trade show being held at the Dubai World Trade Centre, 25-28 February 2013.
Dubai has over 2,000 companies involved in the trade and manufacture of food and beverage products. The food manufacturing sector especially has grown considerably in recent years and now accounts for 14% of the manufacturing sector in Dubai according to a special report on the food and beverage sector produced by Dubai Exports.
“Food processing has grown to become one among the leading as well as most diversified industries in Dubai today. The annual output of the sector is valued at around four billion dirhams with almost 70 per cent of it being exported to the Middle East and North Africa,” commented Engineer Saed Al Awadi, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Exports.
The foods sector was among the top three promoted by Dubai Exports in 2012 and accounted for 11 per cent of the total exports facilitated by Dubai Exports in the same year. Overall, AED 605 million worth of foods transactions were concluded through Dubai Exports last year.
With more diversified services from Dubai Exports, which last year was ranked the third best trade promotion agency globally by the International Trade Centre of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) food exports are expected to rise in 2013. Dubai Exports is also aiming at an extended list of countries to secure more diverse markets for the emirate’s food producers.
“Gulfood 2013 is an opportunity for us to highlight the many advantages that comes with the ‘Made in the UAE’ label, in addition to faster market access enabled by the infrastructure and way of doing business in Dubai. Strict quality standards, competent workforce, technology and flexibility to meet varied and specific international tastes give the local foods sector a cutting edge in the quality-conscious global marketplace,” added Al Awadi.
Top foods exported from Dubai include sugar, edible oils, chocolate, fruit juices, bread, pastry, cakes, biscuits and packaged drinking water. The Emirates Standardisation and Metrology Authority (ESMA) has prescribed standards and methods for most of these foods as well as their processing and packaging. Food processing companies in the UAE and Dubai are not only able to meet these standards but in many cases exceed them.
Top export destinations for the local foods sector in 2012 were Saudi Arabia and Europe. As the destinations are becoming increasingly diverse Dubai Exports is connecting the local foods sector to new and potential markets across trade missions and exhibitions.
“We survey the export needs of local firms and opportunities worldwide to help local firms target markets proactively. For example, the GCC common tariff and proximity to Saudi Arabia is a significant window for foods processed in Dubai. Population, growing middle class and lifestyle changes are driving demand in India and China. In Saudi Arabia and India Dubai Exports also has full time trade offices providing ground support to Dubai companies,” stated Al Awadi.
“Likewise, rising disposable income is driving demand in South Africa where Dubai Exports has a sharp focus and seen significant growth. In Europe, Germany is a promising destination and food exports from Dubai already have a sizeable market share in countries like France and Italy largely due to our continued presence in anchor events in the continent,” Al Awadi added.
Following Gulfood, Dubai Exports will take the local foods sector to Anuga 2013, the leading food show in Germany, and to Russia for the first time at the World Food Moscow 2013 as well as to Alimenteria Mexico. Trade missions are also planned to a number of countries.
Dubai Exports will also organise networking sessions and business matchmaking sessions during Gulfood 2013 to help manufacturers, exporters and international suppliers come together and explore partnerships and deals.