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31/10/2019 – News / Environment / Packaging / Innovation / Event / Gulfood / Dubai

Gulfood Manufacturing: Rise in demand for more eco-friendly F&B packaging presents huge innovation opportunity

Gulfood Manufacturing- Rise in demand fo

Global packaging specialists are using Gulfood Manufacturing platform to display their latest innovations, as the food and beverage industry strives to meet growing regional sustainability concerns.

Increasing regional government legislation to reduce waste and meet sustainability goals, coupled with rising environmental awareness amongst consumers, have resulted in a raft of new opportunities and unprecedented innovation in the F&B manufacturing industry, according to packaging specialists at Gulfood Manufacturing 2019, held this week at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).


A recent Accenture study revealed that half of the world’s consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products, while more than three-quarters believe companies should design products that can be recycled or are made with recycled materials.


Governments around the region are demonstrating their commitment to tackling sustainability issues, with the UAE aiming to recycle 75 per cent of the country’s waste, for example. In alignment with such progressive goals, the sixth edition of Gulfood Manufacturing – the largest food and beverage processing and packaging show for the Middle East, Asia and Africa – provided a platform for manufacturers to demonstrate their commitment to making packaging solutions to meet evolving industry and consumer demand.


Engagement and collaboration


“In Europe, governments have been using legislation to drive up recycling rates, and we support packaging legislation that promotes recycling and collection programmes,” said Rodney Reynders, Sustainability Director, MEA, at Swedish packaging specialist Tetra Pak. “This requires ongoing engagement and collaboration amongst stakeholders across the entire supply chain.”


“This is happening now [in the region] with rising levels of both government initiatives and consumer awareness of environmental issues. For example, earlier this year, a new initiative, of which Tetra Pak is a part, was launched by Emirates Nature-WWF, brand owners, packaging suppliers and the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. The coalition pledged to tackle the issue of plastic and packaging waste by supporting waste collections in the UAE.”


“We’ve also partnered in Saudi Arabia with OPI (Obeikan Paper Industries) under the name ‘RIYcycle’ to recycle post-consumer beverage cartons,” added Mr Reynders.


Regulating single-use plastic


Continued steps to regulate single-use plastic is having a positive impact on the industry, according to Husky Injection Molding Systems, which controls more than 50 per cent of the global market for PET beverage production.


“New laws in the region, across countries, have seen a drop in single-use plastic. Recycling is being promoted, manufacturers are actively looking to integrate sustainable manufacturing techniques and packaging methods in their products,” said Wassim Labban, VP Sales, Rigid Packaging EEMEIA, SEA & ANZ.


Olivier Pascaud, Sales Director, IC Water Management, a French company specialising in bottling beverages, said his company had received strong interest from regional manufacturers eager to deploy techniques and machinery that promotes sustainable bottling of beverages, but said that extra cost often remained a barrier: “One of the main concerns about introducing more sustainability in packaging is the cost associated with these measures. Manufacturers are serious about putting out sustainable products, but not at a prohibitive cost.


Finding cost-effective solutions


However, Mr Pascaud added that there are a number of innovative measures manufacturers can take, including ‘lightweighting’ of their product packaging, as well as instituting a clear recycling schedule to effectively raise sustainability of products while keeping costs under control.


“There are a lot of techniques that can really inject more sustainability into F&B manufacturing and packaging, and a forum as large as Gulfood Manufacturing 2019 is a great way to spread knowledge, pick up on insights, and collaborate towards finding cost-effective solutions,” he added.


Gulfood Manufacturing 2019 welcomed more than 1,600 local, region and international exhibitors showcasing the latest innovations and solutions for the ever-changing global F&B industry landscape. The event, which was co-located with the inaugural Private Label & Licensing Middle East, the MENA region’s only dedicated trade platform for the lucrative private label and licensing; and yummex Middle East and SEAFEX Middle East, a pair of food industry events homing in on confectioneries and seafood, respectively, welcomed tens of thousands of visitors, across its three-day run at DWTC from 29-31 October. 


Gulfood Manufacturing returns for its seventh edition from 3-5 November 2020. For more information, visit


Furthermore, Gulfood – the world’s largest annual food and beverage trade exhibition – will return to celebrate its 25th anniversary from 16–20 February 2020. Visit:

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