Gulfood is back and bigger than ever in 2008, with more exhibitors and an anticipated boom in visitors. Caterer Middle East gives you a sneak peak of what to expect at the show.
Gulfood is set to cement its position as an industry stalwart this year with highlights such as the popular Salon Culinaire, which pits chefs from across the region against each other in a competition of skills, and the food safety conference, which runs concurrently with the exhibition.
We are entering new segments, and Gulfood gives us the biggest platform to showcase our products to the region. - Deepankar Gautam, ADF Foods Middle East.
The show will also feature a restaurant and café show with products for setting up new outlets, according to Gulfood project manager Elly Habt.
"[The Restaurant and Café Show] is designed to meet the needs of all the restaurants and cafés setting up in the region whether it's flooring, seating, lighting, cutlery, chinaware, or whatever they may need," she says.
"We have an impressive growth of 20% in 2008 compared with last year, which means we will occupy the entire venue at Dubai International Exhibition Centre, and also mean that this will be the biggest Gulfood we've ever had."
Described by Nestlé Waters Department's general manager for the UAE Ahmed Elleissy as "the leading food and beverage exhibition in the region", Gulfood is set to be a trading hotbed of big deals, new products and exciting ideas.
New on the menu
Several companies are exhibiting at Gulfood for the first time, including Yung-An Tea Co Ltd, Bartech, and Zarrin Ghazal.
Zarrin Ghazal chief executive AM Ebrahimi said his company would be exhibiting ice-cream producers Daity.
"Daity is one of the biggest producers of ice cream in the Middle East and even in the world, so in order to find its right place in the international market we decided to exhibit at Gulfood," Ebrahimi says.
The company will be showcasing three flavours at the show, including Amiral (vanilla ice cream with a chocolate coating) and Rushin (vanilla and cocoa ice cream with caramel and a chocolate coating).
Other companies that are new exhibitors to Gulfood in 2008 include International Dairy Ingredients, Ambrosia Oils, Fruitfina and Erie Europe.
Ones to watch
Visitors to Gulfood 2008 can also expect to see plenty of new and exciting products from the exhibitors at the show.
According to HD Sheldon and Co vice president Douglas Dunn, the company will showcase new products from Hatco, Cecilware, Wolf, Vulcan, Dormont and Kold Draft on its stand.
"We are returning [to Gulfood] because it is a great gateway to the gulf markets," he adds.
ADF Foods Middle East and Asia Pacific country manager Deepankar Gautam agrees.
"We are entering new segments, and Gulfood gives us the biggest platform to showcase our products to the region," Gautam says.
A number of new product ranges will be on display at A Ronai LLC's stand, according to the company's Gavin Dodd.
"We will be launching a number of new ranges at the show including our new range of glass plates and bowls from 3D Glassware in Turkey," he says.
"We will have a total of 36 different place settings to view including Florencia, Japonica and Fernoir patterns, which will also be new for Gulfood."
Capitalising on the boom in the outdoor catering market, Cambro's Paul Micallef says the company will be launching a new insulated container with heated doors at the exhibition.
"The advanced version of the insulated container is equipped with a heated door so that customers can prolong the heating time and are able to open and close the doors without losing the temperature," he says.
Churchill China Dining Out export business development manager Glenn Ewart says this year's Gulfood will be the company's fourth appearance at the show.
"We have seen the show grow from strength to strength, bringing customers not only from the region but from across the globe," he explains.
"This is a key reason for Churchill attending as it is now truly a global event that has one of the largest chef competitions anywhere with the Salon Culinaire contest."
"Gulfood for us is a multi-layered event where we will show ranges and new items in a table setting environment to attract new visitors and customers."
"However, just as important is being able to meet with our existing customers whose support has given Churchill a 30% growth for last year."
A perceived gap in the market for Halal duck products is driving Silver Hill Foods' product display choices at Gulfood 2008, according to UK sales manager James Pearton.
"Having identified a gap in the market for high quality Halal raw and cooked duck products, the intention is to introduce Silver Hill Foods' product range and build brand awareness and a loyal customer base for our products at the exhibition," he says.
As Hatco Corp international sales director Debra Kopczynski explains, there is an increased demand for attractive equipment with "front-of-house appeal".
"Foodservice equipment must not only be functional and reliable, but it must attractively showcase the food being presented," she says.
"The trend for ‘grab and go' food will expand, as busy consumers continue to be pressed for time."
"Hatco offers many merchandising solutions that address this growing trend, which is happening across all market segments."
The focus on ingredients and their changing uses is also an important trend to watch, according to Nordex Food AS area export manager Jacob Olesen.
"Over the last few years, consumption of white cheese has changed significantly," he says. "Traditional consumption - for breakfast - has dropped, while catering and industrial use has increased dramatically."
Another focus of the industry was health and wellness, according to Baqer Mohebi Establishment's Stanley Crasto.
"In recent years, the health and wellness trend has become a mainstream within the food sector," Crasto says.
"Increasingly aware of the benefits, consumers are attaching more and more importance not only to the quality of their food but also to its nutritional aspects."
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