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Gulfood 2022 to unlock F&B’s huge e-commerce potential

09/02/2022 – Event / Gulfood / E-commerce / Online / Digital

Gulfood 2022 to unlock F&B’s huge e-commerce potential

At Gulfood next week (13–17 February, Dubai), global industry leaders and power brands are set to explore and analyse the rapidly evolving role of the digital marketplace within the F&B ecosystem.

E-commerce in the F&B industry is booming with recent research forecasting it to reach US$71.62 billion by 2028, registering a compound annual growth rate of 17.8 per cent. The steep upward trajectory is driven by several key factors, including sweeping consumer shifts towards online shopping for groceries, ready-to-eat food deliveries and healthy produce.

Such trends have led to an urgent need for the industry to dig deeper into its e-commerce offerings to level up the ecosystem. Yet, while the segment provides a plethora of opportunities and huge business potential, there remains inevitable growing pains, and more work is required to ensure success for all links in the fast-moving digital chain: it is not simply a case of tying up with aggregators or launching a proprietary online delivery service. 

Trends, trials and solutions to truly unlock F&B’s e-commerce potential will be explored in great depth for the first time at Gulfood 2022, the 27th edition of the world’s largest annual F&B sourcing event, which runs from 13–17 February at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).

Connecting and creating the digital marketplace of the future

Big brand leaders, food technologists, policymakers, industry heads and start-up pioneers will convene in Dubai to unpack the industry and set the future agenda, with the all-new ‘Gulfood Inspire’ conference – featuring dedicated sessions on e-commerce, led by some of the sector’s leading innovators – while a focused networking programme will ensure the F&B sector can realise its digital capability.

“E-commerce in F&B is experiencing a meteoric rise, thanks to a number of key factors. In this region specifically, it is flourishing thanks to increased high-income potential, high internet penetration, developed logistics network, modern digital payment systems, a growing tech-savvy youth population, and strong government support. As the F&B industry’s undisputed transformative powerbroker, Gulfood will connect and create the future course of the digital marketplace, with crucial insights from producers and aggregators,” explained Trixie LohMirmand, Executive Vice President, Exhibitions & Events, DWTC.

“It will be a coming together of an industry in need of addressing ecosystem challenges and opportunities, which if surmounted can be a huge engine of growth and transformation. What consumers are looking for from the food and beverage industry is very different from just a few years ago, and these new expectations are here to stay beyond 2022,” explained Ms. LohMirmand. “Gulfood will focus industry-wide debate on the trends and new value-chain networks that will shape the future.”

A new direction for distributors

Consumers today are spoilt for choice online, with everything you could possibly want available somewhere for a competitive price – and added to this, the ease of it being delivered to your door. The online marketplace is fast, convenient and without boundaries, and it is changing how consumers shop for the foreseeable.

It is a fast pace that distributors have had to learn to adapt to, and keep up with, in order to remain ahead of the game, as Bhushant Gandhi, Department Head (FMCG) at Truebell, can attest: “At Truebell, our e-commerce journey started in 2017 and rapidly took shape in 2019, with the pandemic fast-tracking all our business plans. E-commerce requires a different approach and thought process in comparison to tradition retail and foodservice. We feel we quickly adapted to this with specialised staff to manage this business,” he advised. 

“In 2019, we diversified our business with an overarching strategy for systematic distribution via all relevant e-commerce channels, including online marketplaces, third party e-retailers and direct sales. Today, Truebell fulfilment centre provides over 8,000 SKUs in various categories across Food, Health, Home and Personal Care. And continues to expand,” he informed. 

The rise of e-commerce in F&B is a win-win for all, according to homegrown regional online marketplace Noon, which will be among the of high-calibre industry pioneers providing invaluable insight across the five-day Gulfood. “Noon Grocery is dedicated to assisting brands and local retailers in growing their businesses using our tools. With a large customer database, we can provide brands with prominent visibility in the digital space as well as quick fulfillment across the UAE and major cities in KSA and Egypt,” explained Yesu Yarlagadda, Noon’s Vice President – Grocery.

Mr Yarlagadda will share Noon’s vision and future plans on the ‘Gulfood Inspire’ stage in a session entitled ‘Digital Differentiation - Building and Promoting your Digital Shelf-Space’.

More room for retailers

UAE-based supermarket chain Choithrams has been at the heart of the UAE’s rise in e-commerce, with its digital platforms providing efficient service for consumers alongside its bricks-and-mortar offerings in order to meet demand.

"Online retailers will continue to grow its share over the years. Retailers are well placed to offer omni channel solutions to consumers to best adapt to their changing needs,” noted Rajiv Warrier, CEO (GCC) at Choithrams. 

“Gulfood is a great opportunity to network with suppliers, manufacturers and retailers, and identify new retail and distribution opportunities understand opportunities for introducing new technology, new categories, and products into the UAE market,” he added.

E-commerce in focus

The dedicated e-commerce sessions at the ‘Gulfood Inspire’ stage will be presented in collaboration with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce. Amongst the noteworthy speakers taking to the stage over the five days will be: Wassim Makarem, VP of Q-Commerce at Talabat; Arun Kumar Krishnan, COO at Fresh to Home; Kirti Meghnani, Head-Procurement at Choithrams; Nikola Cabarkapa, VP of Brand Partnerships & MFC at InstaShop; Benjamin Mouflard, Co-Founder of ChatFood; and representatives from Dubai Restaurants Group, Locale, KRUSH Brands, Opaala, Timbl, Qlub, Eat App, Tradeling, Eighty6, Liftoff UAE and Euromonitor.

Gulfood 2022 will be held under stringent safety and hygiene protocols. Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) has proved its capability to curate the safest face-to-face business environment and deliver world-class events with the highest safety protocols.

More information on the event’s safety guidelines can be found here

Gulfood – the world’s largest annual F&B sourcing event – runs from 13–17 February at Dubai World Trade Centre. For more information, visit:

Latest issue – Vol 1/23
– Health & Nutrition focus
– Gulfood 2023 Special
– Next level legume – The rise of the chickpea
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