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Gulfood to tackle global food challenges and kick-start pivotal year for UAE

19/01/2023 – Event / Gulfood / Sustainability / Dubai / UAE

Gulfood to tackle global food challenges and kick-start pivotal year for UAE

With major dialogues around food security, sustainability and
investments in the lead-up to COP 28, 2023 is likely to be a critical year for the food & beverage industry – and bringing together F&B communities from across the world to Dubai, Gulfood (20–24 February) is set to chart the way forward.

Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) has announced that the largest annual global food and beverage sourcing event in the world, Gulfood  returns to Dubai for its 28th edition in February – around 30 per cent larger than previous editions (with 1,500 of the 5000+ confirmed exhibitors new to the show), and focused on bringing sustainability to the fore with launch of global initiative Gulfood Green.

Gulfood 2023’s record scale is due, in part, to the introduction of Gulfood Plus – a brand-new bespoke hall, where first-time exhibitors will showcase product innovations across 10,000m2 of added floor-space.

Leading global brands set to exhibit at Gulfood 2023 include: Unilever, GMG, Americana, Agthia, Fonterra, McCain, Monin, USAPEEC, Hunter Foods, ASMAK, Minerva Foods, U.S. Dairy Export Council, Frinsa Group, Emirates Snacks Foods and Al Rabie, to name but a few. Newcomers to the leading F&B event in 2023 include Brazilian food processing giant BRF Global, and India’s Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).

Globally, a series of world events are causing inflation and a rise in the cost of consumer goods, food, utilities and fuel. The food industry has a huge role to play in helping reverse these trends and moving towards healthier, more resilient food systems. With the UAE preparing to host COP 28 in 2023, Gulfood will serve as a critical opportunity to convene the global F&B industry at the start of the year, and continue the shift towards more sustainable food production and consumption. 

“With the on-going food crisis, combined with climate shocks, and rising costs of food, 2023 will be an important year for turning the corner and getting back on track while elevating healthy and
diversified diets that are sustainable for people and the planet,” predicted Trixie LohMirmand, Executive Vice President of Dubai World Trade Centre. “Gulfood and the UAE will be at the heart of many of these conversations, and have a unique vantage point from which to lead the way,”

From agenda to action

With the UAE acting as the central hub of all these changes, Gulfood will be at the heart of the business community, propelling sector conversations from agenda to action, gathering the industry together in the first key F&B industry event of the year, unveiling new products and innovations, and creating an international platform for business opportunities. The show will feature no less than 125 country pavilions with first time participants such as Armenia, Cambodia and Iraq, and welcoming back returning pavilions from South Africa and Australia.

New for 2023: Gulfood Green

Launching at the show in 2023 is Gulfood Green – a new global sustainability initiative designed to ignite and continue conversations within the wider F&B community to create a momentous shift towards more resilient and sustainable food production and consumption. The objective is to raise visibility and influence key strategic food industry champions for sustainable food systems transformation in the lead up to COP28, and in so doing set a precedent for the future.

As part of the initiative, Gulfood has also launched its own Gulfood Global Forest, an international tree-planting campaign and nature-based solution to the events’ sustainability commitments, aimed at conserving, restoring and growing trees across the globe to help curb climate change. The food industry is known to be a major carbon emitter, and the Gulfood Forest will enable stakeholders of the event – from exhibitors and visitors, to speakers, chefs and the wider public – to get involved and plant trees to help restore global forests. 

Gulfood Green has already started planting in four countries: UAE,
Uganda, Ecuador and Indonesia, with fruit-bearing trees planted in a number of the locations to enable families and local communities to become self-sufficient. The trees already planted will support 2,000 families and sequester an estimated one million kilogrammes of CO2 over the trees’ lifetime. 

Gulfood Green’s commitment is to quadruple the number of trees and country expansion by COP28.

Sustainability at the fore

At Gulfood 2023, the theme of sustainability will be carried through multiple verticals, through topics such as Working towards zero food waste and making the dairy industry less carbon-intensive, to building and securing viable, sustainable food business. 

Speakers include: Paul Newnham (Executive Director of SDG2 Advocacy Hub); Carlos Frunze Garza (an advocate for sustainability and Executive Chef of Teible); Kylie Woodham (General Manager of Magners Farm); and Kamesh Ellajosyula (President and Chief Innovation & Quality Officer of Olam Food Ingredients).

Gulfood will also put the spotlight, for the very first time, on global chefs spearheading biodiversity in the restaurant industry, with master-classes and workshops by top chefs creating real change, through sustainability and zero waste initiatives including: Rasmus Munk of Alchemist in Copenhagen, and Peeter Pihel, sustainable restaurant advocate and Head Chef of Fotografiska.

The Gulfood Green Awards will also take place this year, with submissions open to the industry, in five categories: Green Foodservice Industry Award, Waste Management Award; Green Food Innovation Award; Sustainability Professional of the Year and Sustainability Company of the Year. The aim of the Gulfood
Green Awards is to celebrate excellence in sustainability and encourage green best practice across the food & beverage industry.

Impactful conversations to spur change

Championing the core themes of Sustainability, Quality and Access, the Gulfood Inspire Conference will see ministers, global F&B value chain leaders, entrepreneurs, civil society and industry experts lead a series of keynotes, panel discussions and showcases. 

Timely topics to be addressed as part of the Conference programme include: Sustainable Food Production; Food Security and Sovereignty; Agri-Food and Food Tech Investment; Innovations and Web 3 Opportunities; Nutrition Education and Access; Waste Reduction; Securing International Supply Chains; and Food Services Trends, Challenges and Innovations.

Confirmed first-time speakers include: Yazen Al Kodmani (Head of Operations at Emirates Bio Farm); Alessio D'Antino (Co-founder & CEO of Forward Fooding); Neha Sood (UAE Market Lead for Zomato); Rajiv Warrier (CEO GCC of Choithrams), and Ruben Brunsveld (Deputy Director EMEA for the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil).

Gulfood has partnered with global award-winning market intelligence agency Mintel to curate a thought leadership programme for the F&B industry. As the events’ Strategic Knowledge Partner, the agency has undertaken exploratory interviews with leaders across the food & drink industry, covering
topics including sustainability and inflation. Experts and leaders from around the globe have shared challenges and priorities as food & drink professionals, with the aim of collectively looking to
understand the key challenges the F&B industry faces and the solutions businesses are adopting to overcome them.

The results from the research will be shared in a whitepaper in the weeks leading up to Gulfood 2023, and will be more widely used across the industry to provide guidance and inspiration to businesses at this critical juncture.

‘Dubai World Cuisine’ movement

Gulfood Plus will be the home of Top Table this year, where the world’s best curators of award-winning dining experiences will showcase their signature dishes. Gulfood 2023 will launch the
‘Dubai World Cuisine’ Movement, which aims to provide a platform for home-grown chefs to collaboratively shape the cultural identity of Dubai and establish it on the world’s culinary map.

For Gulfood’s 2023 show, Singapore has been selected, for the nation’s vibrant and diverse culinary scene, which spans everything from Michelin-starred restaurants to UNESCO-recognised street food. The programme will see six iconic
chefs from Singapore hosted in six Dubai restaurants in February, with master-classes and fringe dinners outside of the event, across the city. Then two months later, in May, the Dubai chefs will be
hosted in Singapore for six dinners under the umbrella of ‘Dubai World Cuisine by Gulfood’.

A star-studded line-up of internationally renowned Michelin star chefs participating in the programme include: Melbourne born Michael Wilson of Marguerite in Singapore; Winner of the Michelin Guide Young Chef of the Year, Louis Han of Nae:um; and hailing from Liguria, Italy, Daniele Sperindio of Art in Singapore. 

Dubai’s Michelin star home-grown talent includes: Gregoire Berger of Ossiano, Salam Dakkak of Bait Maryam and Saverio Sbaragli of Al Muntaha – all participating in Gulfood for the very first time.

Alongside Top Table, Chef Talks will offer insights and inspiration
from global chefs, food editors and influencers in the culinary world.

The leaders of tomorrow

As a first-of-its-kind launchpad for empowering promising F&B talent with a career-changing experience, the Gulfood YouthX Challenge grand finale winners, competing at Gulfood 2023, will be rewarded for their contribution to the region’s influence on the global gastronomic scene with a career changing internship at an international 3-Michelin-star restaurant. 

In another event ‘first’ at Gulfood, YouthX Academy Acceleration has been created to provide a pathway for culinary students to fast-track their career in the world of professional gastronomy. The YouthX Academy Challenge will see teams of talented young chefs from top international culinary schools compete with each other for the chance to secure a full-time position at one of the most coveted
restaurants in the region.

Food Metaverse: a new world of opportunities

Also taking place at the new Gulfood Plus, the Food Metaverse on blockchain will give visitors the chance to discover the incredible opportunities that the food ecosystem is presented with through
Web 3.0, and to learn about emerging technology trends set to pave the way for future innovations in the F&B industry.

Gulfood Innovation Awards

Bestowed upon the industry's revolutionary pioneers, the Gulfood Innovation Awards honour excellence in new product development and champion ground-breaking new products that have been launched within the past calendar year. Thousands of entries have already been submitted in 10 categories, including: best beverage product, best organic product, best frozen product, best packaging design and best plant-based product.

Enabling global connections

Gulfood will create a platform for companies in the food industry to present their products, services and solutions to influential buyers from across the globe, facilitating intercontinental business deals
and serving as the ultimate focal point for the world of food and beverage sourcing. 

Over 10,000 meetings have already been scheduled and confirmed via the show’s meetings programme.

Tickets for Gulfood are currently on sale at a special rate of AED 295 for a 5-day pass (instead of the regular full price of AED 495) for a limited period only. Tickets can be purchased at:

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