The long-term success, sustainability and profitability of food processing firms across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) will be determined by the innovative approaches companies adopt in maximising food technology investment, according to a raft of global food industry leaders speaking at the Food & Beverage Industrial Investment Summit at this week’s inaugural Gulfood Manufacturing – this week’s sector-specific food processing trade event at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).
The two-day Summit - split into daily themes of ‘Economic and Investment Outlook for the Food Manufacturing Industry’ and ‘Operation and Best Practices in Food Manufacturing’ - attracted a high-profile panel of powerhouse speakers from regional and international public and private sectors. With the need for innovation resonating throughout, the global experts debated issues ranging from food security, food safety, halal agro food and franchising opportunities, to adoption of best industry practices and the role of Free Zones as investment conduits to spur growth.
“The Middle East and the wider region represent one of the world’s most dynamic markets,” said Dennis Jönsson, President and CEO, Tetra Pak, who delivered a keynote presentation on ‘Powering Innovation in Food Processing and Packaging’ to more than 400 delegates. “The food and beverage industry is facing a new era, an era that will bring us incredible opportunities as well as an array of challenges. It is up to us all to recognise the emerging trends, and to stay ahead of them, developing the innovative products and the packages that meet the changing needs of future consumers. We need to embrace new ideas, new technologies, new solutions and new ways of partnering with each other.”
With the GCC currently importing between 80-90 per cent of its food requirements and demand expected to grow by 50 per cent over the next 20 years, the importance of innovative investment in regional food processing and manufacturing companies was highlighted as a key enabler in combating food security issues across the Arabian Gulf and beyond.
“Food security in the Middle East is becoming increasingly challenging, as globally more resources are being consumed,” said Vishal Tikku, Vice President & Area Director, Middle East, Mondelēz International. “By 2050 it is estimated that the world will need 70-100 per cent more food, so it is essential that food companies invest in innovative solutions in sustainable farming, microenterprises and nutrition education to improve food security and provide economic opportunities in developing food producing nations. Consumers can play a role as well by choosing products made with sustainably sourced ingredients or less packaging. By addressing these issues now, we can start to protect supply for generations to come.”
Talking about the importance of strategic public and private sector partnerships to tackle food security issues, Dr. Saad A. Khalil Esa, Director, Office of King Abdullah Initiative for the Agricultural Investment Abroad, Ministry of Agriculture of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia said that public and private sector partnership are very important to achieve the required food security across the GCC region and high-profile events like the Food & Beverage Industrial Investment Summit at Gulfood Manufacturing help brings delegates together to further progressive dialogues and identify equipment and technology solutions which can aide the region’s food processing industry.
A strategic investment event bringing together overseas investors and multinational corporations to explore economic, market and manufacturing opportunities across MEASA, the Food & Beverage Industrial Investment Summit is a core delivery mechanism in Gulfood Manufacturing shaping an ‘innovation legacy’ for the regional food processing industry, said the show organiser.
“By enabling large multinational food producers to explore MEASA expansion avenues and providing a platform for regional food manufacturers to source the latest ingredients, processing machinery, packaging equipment and logistics, warehousing and cold chain solutions to replace and upgrade production line equipment and enable faster, cheaper and cost-effective production of safer and more reliable products, Gulfood Manufacturing is building an innovative legacy which will shape the region’s food processing landscape for years to come,” said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice-President, Exhibitions & Events Management, DWTC.
Running alongside the Food & Beverage Industrial Investment Summit, the two-day Bakery Innovations Summit - presented by Knowledge Partner, Bakery Initiatives of the Netherlands – also concluded on the second day of Gulfood Manufacturing.
A specialist platform for investors and industrial bakeries to meet regional and global bakery sector experts, the Bakery Innovations Summit featured 12 thought-provoking, knowledge-sharing sessions designed to encourage regional development strategies amid increasing market demand for innovative offerings. Topics included everything from the volatility of the world grain market and the functional principles of vacuum cooling, to best practicing in labeling, future of sourdough and the frozen bakery segment.
“Frozen baked products account for eight per cent of the total market - a significant portion of the global food processing sector. Due to the increase in demand of healthy ingredients, future demand is set to grow even further and the global market value of the frozen bakery sector is expected to reach US$32.5 billion by 2018,” said Oliver Sergent, President, Mecatherm, a French bakery giant exhibiting at the show. “The bakery sector is one of the key industry focuses at Gulfood Manufacturing and we have been showcasing our state-of-the art equipment and technology solutions to GCC companies that increasingly understand the importance of innovation in the regional food processing market.”
The region’s largest-ever trade show debut, Gulfood Manufacturing features more than 1,100 global food manufacturers, suppliers and service providers, including a world-class line-up of international brands including IFFCO, Cargill Europe BVBA, Markel Bakery Group, Multivac, TNA Packing Solutions, Ishida Europe Ltd., Döhler Middle East and CSM Deutschland GmbH. The industry heavyweights will participate in themed sectors or within more than 24 national pavilions including Germany, Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Iran, Switzerland, Taiwan, China, Thailand, India, Italy, Austria, France, the USA and the UK.
Gulfood Manufacturing is open between 10am-6pm from 9-10 November and 10am-5pm on 11 November, 2014, at DWTC. Visitor attendance is free of charge. For more information, please visit www.gulfoodmanufacturing.com