Companies take stock after Gulfood

The past month has been busy for most people involved in the region’s food and drink sector, whether on the retail, distribution or production side of the industry. And for many businesses, last month’s Gulfood exhibition, which attracted some 30,000 visitors, was the main event in the year’s calendar.

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By  Roger Field Published  March 7, 2006

Companies take stock after Gulfood|~||~||~|The past month has been busy for most people involved in the region’s food and drink sector, whether on the retail, distribution or production side of the industry. And for many businesses, last month’s Gulfood exhibition, which attracted some 30,000 visitors, was the main event in the year’s calendar. Gulfood 2006, which was held at Dubai’s International Convention and Exhibition Centre, and was the eleventh edition of the exhibition, recorded an all time high in the level of business transactions and activity, according to its organiser. The Retail News Middle East team attended the exhibition each day, and was impressed by the scale of the event, and also by the diversity of the companies that attended. The exhibition gave small juice producers from Armenia chance to rub shoulders with leading Gulf distributors, and offered large brand owners the opportunity to see new products from across the globe. These same diverse companies were present at the exhibition for many different reasons; some to promote new brands in the hope of finding a distributor, and others just to test the market and see whether exporting to the Gulf is a viable option. For some of the larger companies, the event was a chance to simply catch up with business partners and maintain a good relationship with them. The event was also evidence that in the age of mass communication, when the internet is often lauded as one of the most important business tools, the best way to do business remains going out into the field to meet people face-to-face. Amid the buzz of the event, there were only a few dissenting voices – although the few criticisms that RNME heard tended to be constructive and probably valid. For example, one ingredients producer in hall five complained about a lack of space. The Jordanian company had been allocated less space than it had originally wanted and felt that this was a hindrance. Certainly, halls five to eight seemed to be more crowded than halls one to four, which were far easier to navigate. But with Gulfood’s organiser, Dubai World Trade Centre, having already announced that next year’s show will be bigger than 2006’s, with 75% of the existing floor-space earmarked for the event already sold out, it seems likely that significantly more space will be allocated for the event, easing any potential problems. Did you attend Gulfood 2006? Did you gain any business or important leads from the event? The RNME team is interested to hear your story. Roger Field, Editor. ||**||

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