Exhibitors from around the world gather in Dubai to showcase the latest food, drink, foodservice and hospitality offerings.
Gulfood 2008, the largest gathering of food, drink, foodservice and hospitality professionals in the region, begins on Sunday with the most international line-up of exhibitors in the event's history.
More than 2,500 companies will exhibit at the show, and companies from every corner of the world have arrived in Dubai this weekend to begin setting up.
"The food, drink and foodservice industry is one of the most globalised sectors of the world economy and its international character is reflected in the diverse composition of exhibitors at the Gulfood exhibition. We are pleased to welcome exhibitors from 72 countries to this year's event and are confident that with such a wide selection of companies on display that there will be many significant deals closed at the show" said Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General, Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), organiser of Gulfood.
The 13th edition of Gulfood will take place from 24 - 27 February 2008 and is completely sold out. Occupying the entire Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC) - including the additional 11,000sqm in Sheikh Rashid and Sheikh Maktoum Halls - the exhibition is set to cover more than 60,000 square metres of space.
Among the largest national pavilions at this year's Gulfood will be Germany, Turkey, USA, Italy, Spain, Egypt, France, Australia, The Netherlands, Thailand and the UK. They will be joined by new countries from Ecuador, Iraq, Lithuania, Malawi and Mexico.
Gulfood is the only event of its kind in the region that provides such a strategic business platform. Companies from all over the world are gathering to take advantage of the targeted trade buyers from over 140 countries who converge at the exhibition each year.
One such example is the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management of the Republic of Serbia which, in coordination with SIEPA (Serbia Investment & Export Promotion Agency), have assisted Serbian producers in presenting their products at Gulfood with the support from the USAID Agribusiness Project. After making four million Euros (US$45.6 million) in sales at Gulfood 2007, Serbian companies are looking to promote red raspberries, Serbia's best selling "super fruit."
"Thanks to its preserved nature, high quality of varieties and excellent climate, Serbia supplies one third of the world's trade in raspberries," said Ivana Glibetic from SIEPA.
Malaysia is also bringing 47 companies supplying various food products and beverages to the show to enable them to gain a higher profile in the Gulf and neighbouring markets.
Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) Regional Director for West Asia, Ahmad Zafri Zawawi, said: "This will be MPOC's fourth participation in Gulfood, and the response to our natural Palm Oil has always been tremendous."
Suppliers at Gulfood will also be able to network and present their latest products and services to a number of significant delegations from across Asia. Permanent Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) Nguyen Huu Dung, is set to lead a 46-member delegation, representing 18 major Vietnamese seafood producers, to attend the event. Further delegations expected include Egypt, France, Nigeria, Romania and Thailand.
New for 2008, is the inaugural event Restaurant & Café Middle East. Held alongside Gulfood, this exhibition will showcase the latest innovations in interiors, equipment, supplies and services, providing innovative and practical solutions to Architects, Baristas, Executive Chefs, Designers, Food and Beverage Directors and Proprietors. Participating companies include Al Accad, BASF, IFI, ISA, Profisys, Russel Partnership and Villeroy & Boch.
The 3rd Dubai International Food Safety Conference, organised by Dubai Municipality, will also be present to examine the challenges and issues in the Middle East market with renowned speakers from around the world addressing topics including food safety systems, new regulations and best practices.