The second edition of Foodex Saudi was inaugurated yesterday by HH Prince Khalid bin Saud bin Khalid bin Turki Al Saud, Deputy Chairman of the Meteorology and Environmental Protection Technical Affairs. Organised by Reed Sunaidi Exhibitions and taking place at the Jeddah Centre for Forums and Events from 17th – 20th November 2014, the event has attracted more than 400 brands from over 30 countries and is projected to receive over 15,000 visitors and buyers from Saudi Arabia and the GCC.
Under the patronage of the Ministry of Agriculture, represented by its Deputy Minister, Eng. Jaber Bin Mohammed Al-Shihri, and sponsored by Alpha Trading, Savola Foods Arabia and Fakeih Poultry, to name just a few, Foodex Saudi has set the benchmark for food and beverage exhibitions in the Kingdom. Some of the leading brands presented at the event include Fakieh Poultry, Al Tazaj, Afia Oil, Café Mauro, The Frozen Yogurt Factory, Evian, Valrhona, Choco Melt, Butler, Magic, Abu Bint and Tabasco.
“We’d like to thank HH Prince Khalid bin Saud bin Khalid bin Turki Al Saud and the Ministry of Agriculture for their continued patronage and support of Foodex Saudi, we believe that there is no better time than now for these initiatives. The Saudi food sector is expected to grow by 55.3% over the next few years, reaching $70 billion per annum. Being the largest consumer in the Gulf, the Kingdom’s food and agricultural commodities account for 15%, or $17.5 billion, of its imports, with agricultural imports projected to grow by as much as 76% by 2016. The exhibition provides a platform for local and international businesses to come together and further develop Saudi Arabia’s F&B industry,” said Simon Blazeby, Head of Exhibitions at Reed Sunaidi.
The exhibition’s first day was a notable success, with thousands of visitors in attendance, eager to network, establish new connections and discover new-to-region brands from international destinations—Austria, Greece, India, Thailand, Mexico and Malaysia, amongst others. Catering to every sector in the F&B industry, Foodex Saudi offered a wide range of exhibitor profiles and products, including confectionary and baked goods, organic and health foods, seafood, poultry, game and meat, frozen foods and ready to eat, and food technology and packaging.
Commenting on his company’s decision to participate for the first time, in Foodex Saudi 2014, Gerardo Tapia, CEO of Cominova SA de CV (Mexico) and Cominova España, SL (Spain), said: “We believe that Foodex Saudi is a great opportunity to expand our market and unite Mexican and Saudi cultures. Cominova produces 120 different products and represents 30 different small to medium companies from Mexico. Our products are innovative, of high quality and aim to preserve Mexico’s inherited recipes.”
The opening day also marked the kick-off of the three day Saudi Food Forum, with the keynote address being delivered by the Deputy Minister for Agriculture, H.E. Eng. Jaber Mohamed Al Shehri. Focusing on the responsible development of the Kingdom’s $70 billion F&B industry, the topics to be covered during the three days in session include food security and safety, import and export, supply chain and logistics, Halal food standards, and food marketing.
A new addition to the agenda this year, and taking place on days 2 – 4 of the exhibition, the Saudi Chef Competition encourages local chefs to compete on a spectrum of culinary talents, with the winners being determined by an international panel of industry professionals.