Four influential and highly anticipated trade shows dedicated to niche sectors of the global food industry attracted thousands of trade visitors to the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC) today (Sunday) after the shows were officially opened by the Chairman of Dubai Chamber, Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair.
Conveniently co-located to offer unrivalled sourcing and cross-selling opportunities for both visitors and exhibitors, the inaugural Speciality Food Festival joins Sweets & Snacks Middle East, Sweet & SnackTec Middle East and ITCA Dubai (International Travel Catering & Services Exhibition) which are all organised by the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) and run from 31 October – 2 November.
"It is clear from the international exhibitor participation that all four shows have attracted, that the Middle East markets are key for business growth across all sectors. All shows offer an excellent environment for sampling and sourcing innovative and exclusive ingredients and products, while facilitating valuable networking, learning and trading opportunities for time-pressured industry professionals," said Trixee Loh, Senior Vice President, DWTC.
The region's first ever dedicated gourmet and fine food show for the food and hospitality industry, the Speciality Food Festival, provides a much needed platform for the showcasing of ultra-premium gourmet food products from around the world. Countries from as far afield as French Polynesia, Argentina and Italy have joined the region's suppliers of high-end gourmet products at the three-day show. Australia and France pavilions house a range of exhibitors from their respective countries.
"The Speciality Food Festival has been created to cater specifically to the niche fine food industry in the Middle East and neighbouring regions. This dedicated event provides a highly focused platform for gourmet professionals to meet, source some of the finest ingredients, and do real business," said Helal Saeed Almarri, CEO, DWTC.
Regionally, gourmet products such as halal, organic and seafood have been earmarked as key growth sectors for the food and hospitality industry. Dubai alone imports food products from around the world with approximately AED26.7 billion traded in 2009, according to recent figures from Dubai Tourism & Commerce Marketing. And with no fewer than six Michelin-starred restaurants by world-renowned chefs Gary Rhodes, Gordon Ramsay, Vineet Bhatia, Nobu Matsuhia, Giorgio Locatelli and Pierre Gagnaire now open in the emirate, it is making its mark as a gastronomic destination.
With a broad range of premium ingredients and finished food products, the Speciality Food Festival provides a cornucopia of culinary delights – from the finest wild caviar, artisan merino sheep cheese, exotic fruits and fresh organic produce, to special breed halal meats, exotic Moroccon argana oil and honey from the mountains of Iran.
The show also includes a dedicated Chef's Corner presented by Emirates Culinary Guild, with daily cookery demonstrations from some of Dubai's top international chefs using ingredients sourced from the exhibitors at the show. The sessions offer an exclusive opportunity to gain insights into upcoming food trends, inspiring techniques and innovative ingredient combinations with chefs such as Chef Maurizio Bosettie of Frankies/Marco Pierre White, Chef Daniel Nuss from Yas Hotel, and Chef Gabriele Kurz from Magnolia Al Qasr preparing their respective signature dishes.
One of the fastest growing food and beverage markets in the world, The Middle East is predicted to deliver strong double-digit growth across the board, from sweet and savoury snacks, confectionery, gourmet food products and specialist products for the burgeoning regional travel industry. According to Euromonitor International, the official knowledge partner for Sweets & Snacks Middle East, the regional snack industry is set to increase by 21% by 2014. In Dubai alone, the snack market has grown by 10% over the past 12 months and is now valued at AED305 million.
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is the fastest growing region for air traffic in the world, according to recent reports from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), with capacity increasing by a staggering 13.2% in the first seven months of 2010.
Now in its fourth year, and jointly organised with Koelnmesse, an international trade fair organiser operating out of Germany, Sweets & Snacks Middle East is the region's only dedicated showcase for the sweets, snacks, chocolate, bakery and ice cream industry, which together with Sweet & SnackTec Middle East, covers everything from ingredients, equipment and technology through to the finished products for catering and retail.
24 countries from around the world are represented by suppliers at the event, including new participants from Colombia, Greece, Russia, Taiwan and the Ukraine. Nine country-specific pavilions are hosting a number of exhibitors from their respective countries, with the largest representation from Germany, Turkey and the USA. A diverse range of new products are being launched during the show including organic sugar-free candies from GoOrganic and GoLightly, a trend-setting fruit 'leather' snack under the brand name "Fame" from Turkish company HT Gida, a new range of multiple-flavoured cream filled chocolates called 'Atalie' and healthy roasted chickpea snacks from Turkish company Karakaya.
ITCA Dubai, the only dedicated travel catering services exhibition for the MENA region, brings to market new product launches designed specifically for the in-flight, cruise and rail travel sector and serves as a central meeting point for this niche global industry. Now in its fifth year, ITCA is organised in partnership with the International Travel Catering Association and is supported by Emirates Airlines as official carrier. Trade professionals will have an opportunity to meet an international showcase of exhibitors from around the world, including Aire Inflight FZE, Brand Stand, Best Partner, Chatsford Ltd., Flight Service Products, Le Chocolat, Long Prosper, Monty's Bakehouse, Nordyun, Skysuplly and Sola BV.
A series of educational seminars being conducted during the shows provide industry professionals with excellent opportunities to stay abreast of the latest developments and trends influencing the industry. Sessions include food safety and regulatory issues within the GCC, ethical food trends, and the future of alternative ingredients in the face of global price hikes. Leading industry research organisation Euromonitor International, will be providing valuable insights from business analysts on the key growth channels for the industry in the region and globally.
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