Gulfood Manufacturing and ISM Middle East have concluded after three event-packed days this week, with a number of equipment, system and finished product launches for the region, writes Neill Barston.
As its organisers noted, the event at the Dubai World Trade Centre, which ended on Thursday afternoon, highlighted a recovery and resilience within the food production sector.
Confectionery Production played its part in covering the event as a media partner for the two leading regional shows, which saw more than 1,600 exhibitors for Gulfood and more than 300 participate for the newly-rebranded ISM Middle East.
Its organising teams believed that the events would leave a lasting legacy, which proved among its core themes addressed at its event summit in tackling means of improving food security across the UAE and Mena region.
Speaking at the conclusion of the ISM show in Dubai, its director Jan Philipp Hartmann believed that it had exceeded many exhibitors and visitors’ expectations through the quality and range of products on display from around the world (see our full review in the next edition of Confectionery Production).
Furthermore, the UAE’s position as a global food manufacturing hub, thanks to a competitive business ecosystem well-supported by the government, is a thread that has run through all three days of the Food Tech Summit at Gulfood Manufacturing.
A key session in the final morning focused on the reasons why the International Islamic Food Processing Association (IFPA) is relocating its head office to Dubai and choosing Dubai as its partner, as it seeks to diversify and strengthen the food supply chain to Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries, most of which currently face an underdeveloped food processing sector.
H.E. Eng. Mohammed Mousa Alameeri, Assistant Undersecretary, Ministry of Climate Change and Environment said “We must act immediately and transform our food systems to become resilient to challenges. This means adopting measures that meet the needs of all, from smallholder farmers to multinational agribusiness firms. These measures must factor in emerging trends in the food production sector to be effective in the long term. We also need to support the creation of sustainable food supply chains. To address the food security challenges we are facing, we must build effective international partnerships towards our shared objective to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2: Zero Hunger.”
Immediately following the session, an MoU on cooperation in developing sustainable, innovative, and common solutions for industry was signed between the Islamic Organisation for Food Security (IOFS) – of which IFPA is a subsidiary – and Food Tech Valley, a UAE-government led initiative designed to address food security locally, regionally, and globally.
The MoU will empower IFPA members with best practices in agritech by exchanging expertise and operational excellence through industry training, conferences and events, work collaboratively towards the establishment of IFPA headquarters within Food Tech Valley, foster robust relations between agricultural businesses across IOFS member states, and facilitate business connections and strategic partnerships in food-processing and the wider food supply chain.
H.E. Yerlan A. Baidaulet, Director-General, IOFS commented “ The International Islamic Food Processing Association (IFPA), a subsidiary of the Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS), is a very special organisation that can help enable food security for the OIC countries. Through close collaboration with the private sector, IFPA will help OIC member countries build food manufacturing capacity and expand trade opportunities.
With IFPA relocating to the UAE, and Dubai being its new headquarters, IFPA is in a geo-strategic location that has the infrastructure and track record to catalyse the improvement of food manufacturing value chain in OIC countries. In this direction, today’s MoU with Food Tech Valley and our close collaboration with Gulfood Manufacturing are our first steps towards achieving food security within the OIC countries” he continued.
Meanwhile, in the regional finals of Gulfood YouthX, teams from Burj Al Arab, Sofitel The Obelisk, Jumeirah Al Qasr, and Grosvenor House went head to head. The team from Sofitel The Obelisk, made up of Yubak Bista, Sidney Mathews, and Sameera Shaw, and mentored by Russell Impiazzi, emerged victorious and scooped AED 100,000 worth of prizes, including a cash prize for each chef.
Across the three days, over 2,500 exhibitors at Gulfood Manufacturing, and four co-located events – GulfHost, The Speciality Food Festival, ISM Middle East (previously Yummex ME) and Private Label Licensing ME have showcased their latest products and solutions, reaching a huge global audience of prospective buyers and suppliers, from across the entire value chain.
SIG, for example, has been discussing the future of packaging and how it is leading the way with its sustainable products and solutions. “Leading our industry in sustainability with our people, products and solutions, we are setting new industry standards in packaging. We are very excited to take part in Gulfood Manufacturing again this year with a stand showcasing our latest innovations and value-added solutions. Gulfood Manufacturing’s exhibition is the most important forum where industry leaders come together to discuss the latest trends and developments in the food and beverage industry and what they mean for the sector. We are thrilled to take part in the discussion on what the future of packaging is going to be and how we are shaping it today,” said Abdelghany Eladib, President and General Manager at SIG Middle East and Africa.”