The potential of the Middle East's market for organic products is under explored and the sector has immense growth opportunities with a predominant youth population in the region taking to healthier and more eco-friendly lifestyles, said organizers of the eighth edition of the Middle East Natural and Organic Product Expo 2010 (MENOPE 2010).
Addressing a press conference, organizers of MENOPE 2010 said the regional organic food market currently valued at approximately S$300 million a year was growing at a pace of nearly 20 per cent, mainly driven by the rising affinity of the youth population to embrace healthy and natural lifestyles.
Eng. Nadim Al Fuqaha, Managing Director, Global Links, organizers of MENOPE 2010, said: "The organic products market in the region is at the threshold of growth and the current demand and sales volume reflects the state of European markets between 1985-1990. In comparison to other global markets, even at low volumes, Middle East is still the fastest growing destination for natural and organic foods."
MENOPE 2010 is being held under the patronage of the UAE Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environment and Water and Dubai Municipality. It is supported by International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), Korea Health Supplement Association (KHSA), Chamber of Herbal Industries of the Philippines (CHIPI), Department of Agriculture, the Philippines and Malaysian Herbal Association among others.
The participating countries in MENOPE 2010 include strong participation from the UAE, Italy, United States, United Kingdom, India, Germany, Belgium, China and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, among others.
"The Middle East boasts of a highly eco-conscious populace which contributes to the success of the expo here. The expo still remains as the only one that caters to the natural and organic products market in the region. We are positive that the success of the previous years will continue to reflect on the eighth edition of the expo creating a prolific platform for the industry to grow and excel," Eng. Nadim Al Fuqaha said.
MENOPE 2010 will showcase a variety of products spanning across Herbals and Spices, Food & Beverages, Cereal Products, Supplements, Health Care products, Natural Living, Natural Cosmetics, Healing Products, Natural remedies, Traditional Medicines, Spas, Relaxation facilities, Pet products and Fabrics.
Mr. Joby Mathew Muricken, Project Manager of the event said the appeal of MENOPE as a platform for global organic product companies to engage the Middle East market was evident from the enthusiastic participation of over 100 companies from across the world despite the economic uncertainty. "MENOPE is the only regional exhibition for organic and natural products and in the last eight years, the show has served as a platform for leading companies to enter the Middle East market."
Participants at the three-day MENOPE 2010 come from over 25 countries bringing in a wide range of high-quality natural and organic products. The expo will be held at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Center from December 6-8, 2010.
One of the significant highlights of this year's MENOPE is the 1st MEVEG Congress, organised by the Middle East Vegetarian (MEVEG) Group, a not-for-profit focus group supporting vegetarian and vegan lifestyle. MEVEG encourages increased consumption of vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and dry fruits in daily diets.
"The 1st Middle East Veg Congress presents vegetarian living as a choice for health and eco-friendly lifestyle. Environmentally sustainable, socially unifying and personal health enrichment are the cornerstones of a plant-based diet," said Ms. Sandhya Prakash, Founder-Director, MEVEG.
The aim of the two-day Congress is to bring attention on topics such as sustainable and vegetarian lifestyle for wholesome health, environmental protection with an array of experts speaking at the event, panel discussions and engaging workshops.