The 28th edition of Gulfood exhibition - Gulfood 2023 was held at Dubai World Trade Centre during 20th-24th February, 2023 in a much larger space spanning 100,000 square feet area. This has become the foremost and prominent global event for showcasing Pulses, Grains & Cereals, Beverages, Dairy, Meat and Poultry, Health & Wellness, Fats and Oils products etc. This year, with 63% participants being from overseas countries, the event hosted 5000 exhibitors from 125 countries. Over and above, there were more than 1.4 million visitors at the exhibition from 191 countries.

Inauguration of Gulfood2023 : Bringing together F&B communities from across the world in Dubai to chart the way forward for this rapidly evolving Food and Beverages sectors, the 28th edition of the event was 30% larger than previous years, with 1,500 of the 5000+ confirmed exhibitors new to the show. Gulfood 2023’s record scale is due in part to the introduction of Gulfood Plus, a brand-new bespoke hall, where first-time exhibitors showcased product innovations across 10,000 m2 of added floor space.
Leading global brands exhibiting included Unilever, GMG, Americana, Agthia, Fonterra, McCain, Monin, USAPEEC, Hunter Foods, ASMAK, Minerva Foods, U.S. Dairy Export Council, Frinsa Group, Emirates Snacks Foods, Al Rabie to name a few; as well as newcomers including Brazilian food processing company: BRF Global and Agricultural, and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).
With the UAE acting as the central hub of all these changes, Gulfood is at the heart of the business community, propelling sector conversations from agenda to action, bringing the industry together to convene in the first key F&B industry event of the year, unveiling new products and innovations, and creating an international platform for business opportunities, including 125 country pavilions with first-time participants, Armenia, Cambodia and Iraq, and welcoming back returning pavilions from South Africa and Australia.
Inauguration Ceremony: 28th edition of the industry-leading event welcomed His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.His Highness was accompanied by Her Excellency Mariam Al Mheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, who opened this year’s Inspire Conference as the keynote speaker. Globally, a series of world events are causing inflation and a rise in the cost of consumer goods, food, utilities, and fuel, and the food industry has a huge role to play in helping reverse these trends and move towards healthier, more resilient food systems. With the UAE preparing to host COP28 later this year, Her Excellency addressed these growing concerns, and highlighted how Gulfood will serve as a critical opportunity to convene the global F&B industry, and continue the shift towards more sustainable food production and consumption.

India Pavilion :The India Pavilion was inaugurated by Pashupati Kumar Paras, Union Minister of Food Processing Industries along with Ambassador of India H. E. Sunjay Sudhir, Dr. M Angamuthu, Chairman, APEDA, Shri Sanoj Kumar Jha, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Mr. Muktanand Agarwal, Director, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmer’s Welfare, officers of APEDA, Indian Embassy, CGI, other stakeholders from Centre & State & exporters.These included Startups, FPOs, and Exporters in Millets producing States, mobilizing start-ups for export promotion of value-added products in the Ready-to-Eat (RTE) and Ready-to-Serve (RTS) categories such as flour, noodles, pasta, flakes, pancakes, ready to eat breakfast cereals mix, biscuits, cookies, snacks, sweets, ready to cook mixes like dosa, idly, khichri, daliya, etc.

Indian Pavilion promoted around 100 delegations of exporters. A Millet gallery was prepared to showcase Millets and its products by the start-ups and new entrepreneurs to provide them a platform to showcase their quality products.

APEDA has signed an MoU with the Government of UAE through its nodal agency Al Dhara Holding SP LLC for procurement of food and food products from India as well as to sell to buyers in UAE.

AIREA at Gulfood 2023: AIREA had obtained a 24 sq metre from organizers- COMNET. The stall designing was also got done through COMNET. Participation was coordinated by Mr Vinod Kumaar Kaul, Sr. ED, Ms Neelam Sharma and Ms Priyanka Marwah, Office Executives. The stand was tastefully decorated with designing including a meeting chamber a store, a reception counter, shelf space for display of products and a biryani serving counter.

Pre-departure activities included:

(a) Pre-fixing meetings with prospective entities – SED had invitation from 25 such entities

(b) AIREA had tied up arrangements with M/s Lotus Restaurant, Dubai for getting Biryani (both non-vegetarian and Vegetarian) for taste sampling throughout the event period.

( c) AIREA had also tied up arrangements with Taj Dubai Hotel for organizing an important brainstorming meeting of AIREA member on 21st February, 2023.

At the AIREA stand , 25 pre-fixed appointees met the SED and discussed wide ranging topics ranging from providing laboratory services, logistics and freight forwarding services etc.
Biryani Taste Sampling: Through the five days of the event, AIREA conducted taste sampling of chicken and vegetarian Basmati Biryani. Following members had provided Basmati rice for this taste sampling:
1. M/s Shree Jagdamba Agrico Exports
2. M/s Bharat Industrial Enterprises Pvt Ltd
3. M/s Dunar Foods
4. M/s Suppletek Industries Pvt Ltd
5. M/s H.R. Exports
6. M/s Bhagwati Lacto Vegetarian Foods
7. M/s Aroma Agrotech
8. M/s Sunfoods Ltd
Every day we had two sessions – one in the forenoon and one in the afternoon and each session sampled 30 Kg on Non Veg biryani and 15 Kg of Vegetarian biryani. Concerned exporters placed their standy during the sampling and first
It is estimated that every day around 2000-2500 visitors tasted the biryani and everyone was unanimous in appreciating the fragrant Basmati rice biryani of unique taste.
Other activities:
On 20th February, 2023, on the invitation of Consulate General of India , Dubai , Mr Vinod Kaul attended a networking dinner with Hon’ble Minister of Food Processing Industries , Government of India , Mr Pashupati Nath Paras at Hotel Taj Business Bay, Dubai. The dignitaries present were the Minister of Food Processing Industries, UP, Minister of Agriculture , Punjab , Dr Aman Puri and Dr Tarun Bajaj, Director, APEDA. The focus of discussions revolved around the current business scenario in India and development of infrastructure . the discussions were also on the organization of World Food India 20232 in November, 2023 and to create business enthusiasm amongst interested entrepreneurs.
On 21st February, 2023, the second day of exhibition, AIREA conducted a brainstorming session in the serene environment of Taj Dubai Hotel which was vasty attended by members. The session focussed on the present marketing situation in export of Basmati rice and to evolve a strategy to strengthen the elite status of Indian Basmati rice. Members were overwhelming in offering their views particularly the youngsters which was very much appreciated by all.
During the five day event the AIREA team entertained a large numbers of visitors to the stand seeking various kindly of information about functioning of AIREA, the role it plays , how to become member of AIREA and how to advertise with AIREA. AIREA team was able to appropriate provide information to such visitors and it is estimated that around 45 people sought membership of AIREA and another 30 plus wished to advertise in RICE INDIA. A large number of enquiries were also received which are being compiled for circulation to members.
Conclusion: This year’s event was a much larger event and accordingly the number of visitors was also much larger. Indian rice particularly Basmati rice is a much sought after rice and importers from e very nook and concern of the world is seeking it. This augurs well for Indian rice industry.

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