Record 57 firms out to tickle tastebuds at Dubai food fair

Representatives of Singapore's food manufacturers showcasing their products at the Gulfood 2017 exhibition in Dubai. The Middle East is a key market for Singapore food, with US$52 billion in sales expected this year.
Representatives of Singapore's food manufacturers showcasing their products at the Gulfood 2017 exhibition in Dubai. The Middle East is a key market for Singapore food, with US$52 billion in sales expected this year.PHOTO: IE SINGAPORE

Food company bosses from Singapore have donned aprons at the world's largest food and beverage show to give local tastes and flavours some global exposure.

A record 57 local food companies are participating in the annual Gulfood 2017 exhibition in Dubai.

Trade agency IE Singapore estimates that sales from last year's Gulfood stood at $40 million, up 21 per cent over the previous year.

The Middle East is the third- fastest growing region among Singapore's key markets. Food exports to the Middle East stood at US$359 million (S$502 million) in 2015.

This is the eighth straight year Singapore is participating in the event.

Led by the Singapore Food Manufacturers' Association (SFMA), the Tasty Singapore pavilion showcases new and innovative products to a wide range of existing and prospective clients at the exhibit at the Dubai World Trade Centre from Feb 26 until tomorrow.

SFMA, in partnership with IE Singapore, has introduced products with "Healthier Choice" logos from over 12 companies, and "Food Innovation Product Award" entries from more than 20 firms at the pavilion for the first time.

The initiative is in line with the Food Manufacturing Industry Transformation Map to build consumer-centric food solutions.

Trade shows are a great platform "for our companies to interact with potential distributors/buyers, obtain market and competitor insights and build global mindshare for their products", said Mr Jimmy Soh, deputy president of SFMA.

IE Singapore said sales of packaged and processed foods across the Middle East are expected to grow to US$52 billion this year.

The region, with its rising disposable incomes, presents exciting opportunities for food manufacturers around the world. Amid stringent halal requirements and increasing health consciousness, Singapore's well-regarded halal food system and its firms' ability to create innovative products to suit market requirements place it in a strong position to capitalise on the region's potential.

Said IE Singapore assistant chief executive Yew Sung Pei: "We must move quickly to make an impact in emerging markets like the Middle East, and also innovate to meet the demands of consumers."


Correction note: IE Singapore assistant chief executive Yew Sung Pei's name was spelt incorrectly in an earlier version of the story. We are sorry for the error. 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 01, 2017, with the headline 'Record 57 firms out to tickle tastebuds at Dubai food fair'. Print Edition | Subscribe