Saudi Arabia’s F&B industry fuelled by growth in the country’s tourism and hospitality sectors
Gulfood 2013 set to attract record number of food buyers from the Kingdom as the world’s biggest industry trade show brings international suppliers to the region
With the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia importing approximately 60% of the Middle East’s total food and beverage imports, the country is a key target market for regional and international food manufacturers and suppliers. Gulfood 2013, the world’s largest annual trade show for the food and hospitality industry which takes place at the Dubai World Trade Centre from 25 – 28 February 2013, is expected to welcome a record number of F&B buyers and trade professionals from the Kingdom this year.
Saudi Arabia’s rising population, together with dynamic growth in its travel, tourism and hospitality sectors are key drivers in the Kingdom’s burgeoning food and beverage industry. According to a report by Business Monitor International (BMI), tourist arrivals in KSA are forecast to increase by 7% to 17.3 million in 2013 and by an average of 8.5% each year until 2017.
The Saudi hospitality market is growing in tandem with tourist arrivals. Valued at USD 13 billion in 2011 by Alpen Capital, KSA’s hospitality market is expected to reach USD18.1 billion by 2016. Currently the fastest-growing in the GCC, the Saudi hospitality market is seeing an upward trend in luxury hotels having attracted investments from global players such as Marriott and IHG.
While rising food imports are already indicating strong market potential for F&B, such robust growth in the tourism and hospitality sectors is expected to fuel the need for international food products, services and
technology even further. Analysts have observed a growing preference for foods from Europe, North America, Africa and the Middle East, with the organisers of Gulfood corroborating this trend. Trade visitors from the Kingdom are increasingly sourcing European and American products and technology, and attend the show to access more than 4,000 international food producers from around the world.
Changing consumer trends and demographics also play a key role in expanding KSA’s appetite for international flavours – a large youth population, high disposable incomes and increasing popularity of ‘eating out’ being some of the associated factors.
Trixee Loh, Senior Vice President of DWTC, organiser of Gulfood said: “As one of the biggest food importers in the Middle East, Saudi Arabian representation at Gulfood is always strong. This year, more than ever, food buyers and key decision makers within the KSA food & beverage industry will be making the trip to Dubai to meet with the largest number of suppliers and producers that Gulfood has ever hosted. There is no doubt that the show is critical for meeting the growing demand in the Kingdom and throughout the region.”
Major brands participating at this year’s Gulfood include Al Rabie, Al Watania, Cadbury, Colman, Del Monte, Green Giant, Hershey’s, Knorr, Lipton, Masafi, Red Bul and SunBulah, among others.
Gulfood is strictly a trade-only event and is open to business and trade visitors from within the industry only. Gulfood is open 11am-7pm from February 25-27 and 11am -5pm on February 28. The online entry fee is AED125 and onsite entry fee is AED250. For more information, please visit www.gulfood.com.
Gulfood is professionally managed and hosted by the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), which provides more than three decades of experience in delivering world-class events in the Middle East, featuring local, regional and international exhibitors with unmatched expertise and in-depth market knowledge. The extensive portfolio of leading trade and consumer brand events include The Speciality Food Festival, Sweets & Snacks Middle East, SEAFEX, GITEX Technology Week, Dubai International Boat Show and Dubai International Motor Show.
About Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC)
As the organiser of Gulfood 2013, Dubai World Trade Centre offers more than 32 years experience delivering world-class events in the Middle East, providing local, regional and international exhibitors with unmatched expertise and in-depth market knowledge. Our team organises 18 of the largest and most successful international and regional shows in Middle East, providing an ideal platform for business development in the region.
Our commitment to ongoing innovation within the exhibition industry has supported the rapid growth and development of a wide range of business-to-business and business-to-consumer shows, and delivered consistent satisfaction to exhibitors and visitors. DWTC works with the leading trade bodies and industry associations to ensure that all exhibitions deliver full value and are built upon the real needs of their specific sector.
 2013 Euromonitor International
 Saudi Arabia Tourism Report Q1 2013. Business Monitor International
 2013 Euromonitor International