The inaugural Foodex Saudi exhibition has attracted participation from some of the world’s top international food and beverage brands eager for their slice of a $70bn market opportunity. More than 300 brands representing 27 countries will exhibit at Foodex Saudi, including the likes of Mars, Almarai and Savola Group.
The event will take place at the Jeddah Centre for Forums and Events from 8-11 December under the patronage of the Ministry of Agriculture KSA. Organised by Reed Sunaidi Exhibitions, a joint venture between the world’s largest event organiser Reed Exhibitions and Sunaidi Expo, a division of Alfadl Group, it is the largest event of its kind in the Kingdom.
“With the Saudi F&B market expected to record strong growth in almost every product segment, international companies are looking to Foodex Saudi as the gateway through which to reach this lucrative opportunity,” said Simon Blazeby, Director, Reed Sunaidi Exhibitions.
While Saudi Arabia is the region’s largest food producer, representing 74.1 per cent of total production in the GCC, it imports more than $14.2bn worth of F&B products each year to meet its consumption demands. Affecting all areas of the F&B sector, analysts expect imports will increase further to feed Saudi Arabia’s burgeoning population and expanding domestic market.
Against this backdrop, leading manufacturers from the USA, Europe, the Middle East and Far East have already confirmed their participation in the show and will bring with them a host of new-to-region products and award-winning flavours.
With the Saudi beverage market growing at an annual rate of eight per cent, according to a recent study by Kantar Worldpanel, drinks companies from all corners of the globe have a watchful eye on the Kingdom.
Flavoured dairy products are expected to attract a lot of buyer interest at Foodex, with brands like Germany’s Zott Dairy, Greece’s Mandrekas SA and India’s Rajat Milk Products showcasing flavours unique to their countries. Alternative teas will also be a major focus with brands such as the UK’s Gold Crown and Belgium’s Rwanda Mountain Tea introducing new herbal and fruit flavours to the segment.
Convenience will be another major theme at this year’s event as the changing lifestyle habits of Saudis continues to increase demand for ready-to-eat meals and processed foods. Among the exhibitors catering to this demand is Malaysia’s Win Win Food Industries with its range of corn snacks, wafer rolls chocolate sweets and cookies, and a number of Saudi companies such as Alpha Trading and Luna with their extensive portfolios of frozen and canned goods.
With demand for organic food in the Kingdom growing faster than domestic supply, providers of all-natural, unmodified foods will be a top target for buyers at the show. In 2007, Saudi Arabia’s agriculture minister announced government plans to introduce organic crops to the country and called for the establishment of a national commission on organic farming. As of 2011, there were only three organic farms in Saudi Arabia, representing 0.01 per cent of total agricultural land.
Foodex Saudi will see a large contingent of organic food exhibitors as companies seek to address this supply-demand imbalance. These include Saudi Arabia’s own Esnad, Australia’s Wort Organic Drinks and France’s Mac’corn with its range of gourmet organic breakfast cereals.
Changing consumption habits in Saudi Arabia are also increasing demand for meat products as people move away from a carbohydrate-based diet to one rich in protein. According to the OECD, more than 60 per cent of meat products in the Kingdom are imported. Among the exhibitors looking to support the Kingdom’s meat and poultry requirements will be Halal Italy, Anis Associates and Tazij Meats from Pakistan, Harris Ranch Beef Company from the USA and Meat & Livestock Australia featuring The Organic Meat Company.
“Visitors to Foodex Saudi can expect to see everything from Saudi Arabia’s leading brands and a showcase of global food brands. Food manufacturers with an interest in Saudi Arabia will not want to miss this event with more than 20,000 visitors and buyers from across the industry—including fast food outlets, restaurants, hotels, wholesalers, grocery stores, hypermarkets and HNWIs—expected to attend,” added Blazeby.
Also held within Foodex Saudi is the Saudi Food Forum, an international congress dedicated to the Arabian food industry. The conference brings together delegates from more than 30 countries including senior managers and directors from F&B companies to discuss topics ranging from food safety and security to food marketing.
Foodex is open to business and trade visitors from within the industry only. For more information, please visit www.foodexsaudi.com.