Volume and value of deals signed, visitor numbers and exhibitor numbers all surpass previous year.
The value of deals signed at this year's Gulfood, which closed yesterday, has far exceeded expectations, with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of deals done during the exhibition, according to figures collected by organiser Dubai World Trade Centre.
Such strong commercial performance was driven by a record numbers of trade visitors, with over 39,000 people registered over the week. One of the most successful national pavilions was the US Pavilion, where exhibiting companies signed on-site deals worth a staggering US$100 million over the course of Gulfood 2008.
Major deals also closed at show include one major supplier that generated business in excess of US$ 80 million in the first three days of the exhibition; orders for over 300 tonnes of the Friato chicken brand won by Brazilian group Nutriza; and strong sales by spice importers and equipment suppliers.
Returning for its fourth year at Gulfood, KOMA, a Dutch manufacturer of freezing and cooling systems, sealed deals worth approximately US$2 million. Through its new venture Baking Technologies, which provides complete turnkey solutions for small bakeries and factories, the group signed orders worth more than US$1.6 million.
"Gulfood was a resounding success for us this year. This is by far the highest turnover KOMA has ever reached during its years of participating at the show," confirmed Ton Seuron, Managing Partner, KOMA Middle East FZCO.
MM Vitaoils Sdn Bhd and Alami Vegetable Oil Products Sdn Bhd, Malaysian manufacturers of palm oil-based products, both reported deals worth in excess of US$1 million during the show. International Marketing Manager, Shafiq Ahmed, reported high demand from countries like Yemen and Kuwait, as well as several African countries.
Coffee company Café Canecão signed a contract to ship US$ 100,000 worth of coffee to Saudi Arabia. Other groups, such as Sanden Intercool, a manufacturer of refrigerated showcases and freezers, recorded strong business with visitors from important target markets.
"This is our fourth year at Gulfood and the exhibition is bigger and better than ever. Our aim was to develop serious business inquiries from Africa, a key market for us, and we have exceeded our expectations in this area," said Manoj Kanaya, Sales and Marketing Manager, Sanden Intercool.
Organiser Dubai World Trade Centre has pushed to make the show as international as possible, segmenting the exhibition into specific trade areas, and conducting a road-show event that took them to key markets like India and North Africa.
The effort has paid off in terms of global profile, with this year's Gulfood attracting visitors and international media from the broadest possible territory. Trade delegations from Canada, Egypt, France, Greenland, Iraq, Nigeria, Romania, Thailand and Vietnam all conducted important business at the show. The dedicated beverage area has saw strong trading, according to exhibitors Power Horse Drink and Masafi.
Omar El Banna, Regional Marketing Manager, Power Horse, explained: "This year was one of the best years for Power Horse at Gulfood. We had re-launched the brand in Dec 2007 and this Gulfood was crucial for us in terms of introducing the brand to the global market."
Souheil Andraos, Export Manager, Masafi, agreed: "Masafi is present all over the globe, with exception of the USA, and Gulfood is the best platform for us to strengthen our presence. It gives us a chance to network and to understand what's new, not just in the beverage industry but also in the equipment industry, which is linked to us."
The show also saw the global launch of Al Farooj Fresh, a fast food Halal restaurant chain, by Islami Foods in collaboration with Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for Young Business Leaders. "The demand for Halal restaurants is growing globally, which has created immense need for these specialties," commented Saleh Abdullah Lootah, CEO, Al Islami Foods.
The annual Salon Culinaire was also a major highlight, with over 1,000 chefs competing in 24 categories, and winning displays from specialists from across the region. Organisers believe that this year's performance positions Gulfood as one of the world's most global food, drink and foodservice exhibitions.
"The commercial success of exhibitors at this year's Gulfood demonstrate the dynamism of the Middle East food, drink and foodservice market, as well as the extent to which this exhibition meets and exceeds the needs of the industry," said Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General of Dubai Word Trade Centre, organiser of Gulfood.
"As always, we will review feedback from exhibitors and visitors and build this into the development plan for Gulfood 2009. However, we're very confident that this show will continue to get bigger and better," he concluded.
The 14th Gulfood Exhibition will be held at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre from 23 - 26 February 2009.Gulfood is strictly a trade-only event and is open to business and trade visitors from within the industry only, proof of which must be provided at registration. General public and persons under the age of 21 will not be allowed into the exhibition.