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UAE’s F&B market share to reach $13.2b by 2018
By William Faria February 27, 2017
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DUBAI: The Middle East and Africa (MEA) region is considered as one of the fastest growing food and beverage markets in the world.

The UAE’s Food & Beverage (F&B) market share is expected to reach a whopping $13.2 billion by 2018, according to a report by global audit firm KPMG.

The 22nd edition of world-leading Gulfood 2017 exhibition, which opened at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre on Sunday is widely regarded as a gateway to vast business opportunities within the GCC region and international markets, that is valued at more than Dhs5 trillion globally.

French presence

Business France, the national agency supporting the international development of the French economy is showcasing around 70 companies divided in four key sectors at this year’s event.

Food industry is the first industrial sector in France. It is a traditional strength of the French economy. It aims to answer to one of the most important issues for the future: how to feed 9 billion people by 2050 and how to guarantee food security in a world of never ending crises in a sustainable way.

The French Pavilions is the destination where the most unusual and innovative new products of the French Exhibitors are showcased.

It is also the place where visitors can discover from the latest technologies and packaging ideas, to new flavors, trendy ingredients and healthy foods, highlighting the cutting-edge creativity of France in the agribusiness field. For the first time at Gulfood, France will be represented under the label Made In France Made With Love which conveys French food industry‘s values: the quality know-how, the passion and commitment”. Exhibitors will be grouped into thematic:

Food specialties: 32 companies to be gathered in the biggest French pavilion at the show located at Hall World Food — Sheikh Saeed hall.

Dairy: 16 companies will showcase their range of products at Dairy Products Hall - Hall 1.

Beverages: a group of 8 select companies will reveal fresh and frozen products at Zaa’beel New halls.

Meat & poultry: French culinary specialties will be brought to the Middle East market by 6 hand picked meat/poultry specialists on the Hall Meat and Poultry - Hall 3.

Gulfood visitors will have an opportunity to discover a whole new French offer such as  baby products, white and brown sugar, to taste fresh dairy products, eggs and cheese, sauces and condiments, baked goods and desserts pastry, meat and ready meals, processed fruits, soft drinks.

France is the 6th largest worldwide exporter of food and beverages, with exports valued at $ 67 billion in 2015 and 3rd trade surplus of $13.6 billion.

In 2015, the UAE imported $455 million of food and beverage products from France.

Marc Cagnard, Business France Director in the Middle East stated: “France is recognized for its technical expertise and high quality products, especially in the food sector, and the Middle East is an important market for us, with the booming hospitality & retail sectors. With UAE as a regional hub and a key economic partner for us, this is a step towards boosting our trade and economic relations. It is also interesting to note that the Middle East is one of the largest importers of French dairy products.

French exports of F&B products increased by 207 per cent between 2010 and 2015 globally.

There is no denying that French exports have grown not only in the UAE, but also in the Middle East and the region represents more than 3 per cent of French food exports.Cagnard added “France has long been renowned far and wide for its fine cuisine. In 2010, UNESCO recognized France’s unique savoir-faire by declaring French cuisine to be “world intangible heritage”. And in

The Pulses, Grains and Cereals sector has also attracted some of the industry’s biggest importers and exporters, including UAE-based companies.

Some 371 exhibitors from 27 countries across Asia, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Russia, Africa and the CIS have signed up to be part of the new sectorised Pulses, Grains and Cereals section, which is designed to ease accessibility and boost trade potential.

Italian participation

As a result of the growing appetite for Italian cheeses in the UAE, it is essential for Association of Italian Protected Designation of Origin Cheeses (AFIDOP ) to be present at the world’s most prestigious F7B exhibition in Dubai.

Demand for Italian P.D.O (Protected Designation of Origin) cheeses in the Emirates is also expected to witness a steady growth pattern.

From pasta to antipasti, Italian food has grown to become one of the world’s most favourite cuisines. Italy has been a proud producer of some of the most widely recognised cheeses in the world, of which the UAE is a major consumer.

“As the UAE’s F&B industry continues to boom, we are expecting the demand for Italian cheeses to grow simultaneously as well. There is no dearth of Italian-themed food and beverage outlets in the Emirates, and with more cropping up, we are noticing that residents are becoming increasingly aware of P.D.O cheeses,” said Nicola Baldrighi, President of AFIDOP.

Seeped in history, Italy is the number one country in Europe producing P.D.O cheeses and out of 186 of these cheeses recorded in Europe, 49 have origins in Italy, making 26 per cent of global P.D.O cheeses Italian.

AFIDOP has returned to Gulfood 2017 to present seven leading Italian kinds of cheese including, Casciotta D’Urbino, Gorgonzola, Grana Padano, Parmigiano Reggiano, Mozarella Di Bufala Campana, Pecorino Romano, and Pecorino Toscano.

AFIDOP brings together the leading consortia for the protection of Italian P.D.O cheeses. The majority of these associations were established at different times. Some were born eighty years ago to protect the characteristics of these precious products, which are closely linked to their territory of origin.


Arab French Company for Dairy and Cheese Products (AFDPL), a leading Egyptian dairy products manufacturer specialising in premium cheese products and a subsidiary of SAVENCIA Fromage & Dairy, is also participating at the exhibition.

The new launch is a new addition to the popular Milkana brand, creating a new category of cheese snacks.

AFDPL will be using the exhibition to ramp up exports to the GCC and beyond. The new product, aptly called ‘Cheeze to Squeeze’, is available via Milkana distribution partners across the Middle East and North Africa.

“We are proud to introduce our new Cheeze to Squeeze product line to distributors and partners at Gulfood 2017, which opens up a whole new snacking offer,” said Ahmed Refaat, Marketing Director at Arab French Company for Dairy and Cheese Products (AFDPL). “Our core cheese brand, Milkana, is popular throughout the region and the new convenient, single serve portion Cheeze to Squeeze product, opens up a wide range of new consumer and trade opportunities for our distributors.”

The French group SAVENCIA Fromage & Dairy, the European leader in cheese and dairy product, invested in the development of the new ‘Cheeze to Squeeze’ product. The new stick for Milkana’s cheese, makes it more convenient for consumers who want to enjoy a healthy snack either at home or on the go.

The new Milkana ‘Cheeze to Squeeze’ single-serve format is also a cheese product ideal for convenience stores, hotels, and restaurants (HORECA) sector.

Arab French Dairy has been a regular participant at Gulfood to support its presence in the GCC: a dairy market that is growing at a rate of 8 percent per annum (according to Research & Markets). The company exports its products across the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia and continues to enter new dairy markets as the distribution channels develop and barriers to dairy distribution continue to come down.

“Despite economic turmoil, we’ve seen strong growth in demand for our Milkana brand and Gullfood provides us with an ideal venue to meet our growing network of distribution partners from across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia,” said Medhat Azer, General Manager of Arab French Company for Dairy and Cheese Products (AFDPL). “In addition to solid growth, we have also seen an increased interest in our dairy products from foreign distributors after free floating Egyptian pound exchange rates, helping to make our pricing more competitive in export markets. For this reason, we’re planning to meet potential new distribution partners from several new markets at the exhibition.”

AFDPL recently developed a new recipe for its cheese and re-launched the Milkana brand in 2015, with addition of new products targeting retail and foodservice. Milkana’s strong brand, premium quality, and tasty healthy range of cheese products have allowed it to grow exports and compete effectively against other premium brands.


The Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA) is once again participating at the Gulfood.

DAFZA will enlighten visitors and exhibitors on its key role as a gateway for the global food and beverages (F&B) industry, in addition to the exceptional infrastructure, services and business incentives it offers.

During the exhibition, DAFZA will showcase key facilities available to investors including the newly constructed 32 warehouses that will be occupied from July this year.

F&B ranks among DAFZA’s top 10 sectors by both Foreign Direct Investments and leading investors per industry.

Several global companies at DAFZA also operate in the food and beverage industry.

Jamal Ramadhan Bin Marghoob, Director of Marketing and Corporate Communications Department, DAFZA said foreign investors can enjoy dynamic growth through DAFZA’s excellent incentive packages - including 100 per cent tax exemption, 100 per cent foreign ownership, zero currency restrictions, and a very business-friendly regulatory environment.

He noted that Gulfood is a one-stop shop for exploring the biggest and best F&B and hospitality brands, innovations, trends and deals.

“Our presence at the exhibition allows us to throw the spotlight on our move to become one of the world’s most vibrant F & B hubs. In addition, participating international businesses that are looking to mark their presence in the region can learn how they can benefit from setting up their branches in DAFZA,” said Bin Marghoob.

He said DAFZA’s participation at Gulfood directly reflects the freezone’s commitment towards supporting and facilitating F&B industry which is one of the fastest growing sectors in the region that can add value to the country’s GDP.

“We already host a number of major F&B brands at DAFZA and look forward to further expanding both the sector and our ability to service it through our participation at Gulfood 2017,” said Bin Marghoob.

DAFZA’s numerous business and investment incentives will also be highlighted to F&B companies as well.

He further disclosed that all freezones in the country co-ordinate with one another adding that every freezone has something unique to offer its investors.

Grains and cereals

Dr. Fawaz Al Bahri, Chief Executive Officer of UAE-based Modern Bakery L.L.C said that this year at Gulfood the company is showcasing its Pain au lait, which are crackers available in five different flavours, and its gluten-free variety.

“In addition, our premium bread and pastries range includes high-protein, chia, quinoa, diet, yeast-free, low-carb and omega 3 variations.

Our emphasis on healthy protein bread, quinoa and chia-related products for sandwiches and salads is a response to the current market growth,” said Al Bahri.

Iqbal Fazlani, Managing Director and CEO of India’s Fazlani Exports, added: “In all these years we have consistently worked on earning our customer’s trust and maintaining family relations with our employees and farmers. Over the years, we not only have grown as a company, but also as a sustainably and socially responsible entity.”

 “As India’s largest importer of pulses, having a presence within the Pulses, Grains & Cereals segment at Gulfood takes on added importance.”

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