Sunday, 19 February 2017

GRAINS & CEREAL TO DOMINATE GCC’s FOOD IMPORT LIST



Gulfood dedicated segment highlights demand for ‘trendy’ grains & pulses

Dubai, UAE: As grains and cereals are forecast to dominate the GCC’s food import bill until 2019, the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) has made a strategic move to launch a Pulses, Grains & Cereals segment as one of eight dedicated sectors at the world-leading Gulfood exhibition, which will run from 26 February to 2 March 2016.

With consumers increasingly seeking ingredients that support healthy eating, many food producers are diversifying their ranges to include trendy pseudo grains, such as quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat, and pulses.

The ‘GCC Food Industry’ report by Alpen Capital, the research advisory consultancy, forecasts that grains and cereals will remain the Gulf’s largest food consumption category, responsible for 46.5% of the region’s total food import bill. However, with consumers increasingly turning to ‘healthy’ alternatives, ‘trendy grains’ and pulses are likely to make strong headway.

To satisfy this demand, 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.

“This year at Gulfood we will be showcasing our Pain au lait, which are crackers available in five different flavours, and our 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,” said Dr. Fawaz Al Bahri, Chief Executive Officer of UAE-based Modern Bakery L.L.C. “Our emphasis on healthy protein bread, quinoa and chia-related products for sandwiches and salads is a response to the current market growth.”

“By participating at the world’s biggest and most well-respected food show we know we will reach out to retailers and consumers all under one roof as we aim to establish ourselves as the brand of choice for the health conscious.”

“Gulfood is the most dynamic sourcing platform for all those involved in the business of food. It is a weathervane to emerging trends and it enables suppliers and procurers to adapt their business plans to meet consumer-driven developments,” explained Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Exhibitions & Events Management, DWTC.

“The show’s new sectorised format enables operators in specific food categories get straight to business, with the relevant experts, products and services in close range.”

The Pulses, Grains and Cereals sector has also attracted some of the industry’s biggest importers and exporters, including UAE-based Asia & Africa General Trading LLC, Gulfood official sponsor; the Emirates’ multifaceted Fanar Al Khaleej, Amira Foods and Agrozan as well as India’s Fazlani Exports and Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority, will also be present.

According to Euromonitor International, the market research provider, “Within fresh food, pulses were the best performer following a 7% increase in volume over the past year. The global success of pulses is largely attributed to 4% growth in India, where some 360 million vegetarians rely heavily on pulses for dietary protein. The growth of pulses in the Middle East and Africa region is supported by the popularity of pulses within the region as well as a steady influx of South Asian expatriates.”

As a cheaper alternative to meat among low-income workers, pulses provide an affordable source of protein and are particularly important across developing and emerging markets.

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.”

The ‘Pulses, Grains and Cereals’ feature is one of eight dedicated segments now housed within Gulfood to ensure buyers can more easily and effectively navigate the giant sold-out show, which this year celebrates its 22nd outing. The other features are: Beverages; Dairy; Fats & Oils; Health, Wellness & Free-from; Power Brands; Meat & Poultry and World Food.

Gulfood 2017 will feature 5,000 local and international exhibitors and 120 national pavilions, including first-time participants Azerbaijan, Finland, Malta and Somalia, while international heads of state, ministers, government officials and scores of national trade associations eager to ink lucrative bi-lateral trade agreements will be among tens of thousands of visitors.

Gulfood 2017 is a strict trade-only event and is open to business and trade visitors. The show is open 11am-7pm from February 26 to March 1 and 11am-5pm on March 2. Visitors can pre-register at www.gulfood.com to save AED150 (US$ 40) on the on-site entry fee of AED350 (US$ 95).
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