Gulfood Manufacturing Unveils Much Wider Exhibition Profile than Ever Before

Dubai prepares for three days of food technology innovation, from October 29 to 31. The packaging showcase, manufacturing advice center or innovation tours, are just some of the new segments to debut this year.

Gulfood Manufacturing is focusing on seven sectors unlocking integrated end-to-end solutions for the entire food processing value chain. This year’s edition is all set to unveil a much wider exhibition profile than ever before, as Mark Napier, group portfolio director, Exhibitions Department, Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), told us.

The new Packaging Showcase will highlight the latest innovations in FMCG packaging including spoilage sensors, smart caps, customized packaging, hologram technology, virtual reality, and personalized packaging. More than 800 exhibitors from over 60 countries taking part in the trade fair will address demand from worldwide manufacturers for more sustainable and efficient packaging solutions. The Manufacturing Advice Center is an initiative from its strategic partner, the UAE Food & Beverage Manufacturers Business Group. The advice center will be hosted in the Trade Centre Arena throughout the show.

The Gulfood Manufacturing Innovation Tours will provide deep insights into artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, and robotics. “We have teamed up with major food processing players to take attendees on a memorable journey that will show real-life innovations at work inside some of the region’s top, award-winning food factories,” Napier explains. The Industry Excellence Awards will reward best practice and innovation across the food manufacturing value chain. Judged by a panel of industry experts, all shortlisted entries will be displayed on the show floor. At the Ingredients Lab, visitors can find demonstrations organized by the main exhibitors and new ingredient launches. The Lab will put over 500 ingredients to the test from over 200 suppliers.

These will include new protein sources and sugar, fat and salt replacements, MSG replacers, taste enhancers, and alternative “green” protein solutions as well as 3D printing solutions to address emerging labeling regulations.

Show Experiences

In addition to the seven specialty sectors, Gulfood Manufacturing hosts areas called Show Experiences; among them, Connexions – Meeting Program; Ingredients Lab; Manufacturing Advice Centre; Foodtech Summit; Industry Excellence Awards, and Innovation Tours.

The Gulfood Manufacturing Industry Excellence Awards were held on the show sidelines and rewarded best practice and innovation across the food manufacturing value chain. All shortlisted entries were displayed on the show floor throughout the three days.

Implemented this year for the first time, the Ingredients Lab is an opportunity for visitors to witness demonstrations and attend masterclasses on the multi-sensory experience of ingredients, with some of the biggest names in flavors. The Lab puts over 500 ingredients to the test, from over 200 suppliers. These includes new protein sources and sugar, fat and salt replacements, MSG replacers, taste enhancers, and alternative “green” protein solutions, as well as 3D printing solutions to address emerging labeling regulations, according to the official.

The Manufacturing Advice Center aims to give exhibitors a knowledge platform for all things F&B within the Emirates. The UAE Food & Beverage Manufacturers Business Group represents most of the country’s producers and aims to facilitate growth and excellence in the industry by encouraging innovation and contributing to the development of the industry and its players. It is established as a source of market information for exhibitors, helping them to better understand and engage with local producers. The Group operates an F&B Research cell that curates market information and the latest trends related to the industry and the various sub-sectors and exhibitors could contribute to this.

Looking for AI Solutions

Gulfood Manufacturing’s representative anticipates that we can expect to see automation and AI-driven solutions in key focus. Added to this mix are the latest developments in product differentiation, pan design, manufacture and pan coating technology. Other pressing sector issues are cost-effective solutions to provide healthier ingredients to reduce sugar content, packaging solutions that cater to demand for less plastic and ways of reducing food waste. Governments in the region are keenly addressing these issues. In the UAE, for instance, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment has a long-term goal to halve food waste by 2030, as here an average person is responsible for 2.7 kg of waste per day.

Healthier food demand has also led to a new nutrition labeling policy, which gives consumers more information about the foods they eat being approved by the UAE Cabinet. Implementation involves the recent soft roll-out before the policy becomes compulsory in January 2022. The policy is based on a traffic light system for healthy and less healthy foods based on their ingredients and nutritional content. The initiative supports the National Food Security Strategy, which aims to sustain food safety, improve nutritional intake and reduce the consumption of unhealthy food elements by 30%.

This year’s Foodtech Summit theme – Food Production, Reinvented – summed up the entire focus of the event. “We are living through an age when the industry is at a tipping point of transformation and the Summit addressed the pressing issues faced by manufacturers and the entire production and supply eco-chain,” Napier explained. This second Summit edition looked at the introduction of next-gen technologies to the industry, including blockchain, AI 3D printing, and robotics. Solutions here were set to transform F&B manufacturing facilities into smart factories and explored industry advancements. The program also illustrated the means to secure food for the future and looked into how the F&B industry could innovate and create alternative food supply and resources.

“We had experts from Europe, the Middle East, and Asia lined up as Summit speakers, including those with specific experience in bakery and confectionery,” the organizer underlined. Key speakers included Kunal Gupta, director of supply chain – Bateel International, the world’s only gourmet date grower, producer and seller; David A. Bermeo, executive president – TERRAFERTIL, South American Startup; and Atanasios Moschos, quality, security & safety director – Leonidas, Certified chocolate purveyors to the Belgium royal household. The Summit also featured the Startup Innovation Stage, a platform for startups to showcase their innovations that are driving consumer trends and demands. Innovations taken to the stage included urban farming and plant-based protein.

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