The increase in ingredients, bulk and commodity suppliers attending the exhibition is reflects the global food industry’s response to increasing regional demand for convenience and health products, DWTC said.
Some 407 exhibitors from 41 countries have now booked stands to promote their companies at the annual processing and packaging, logistics and materials handling exhibition in Dubai.
The increase in participation has resulted in the co-located arrival Ingredients Middle East, a specialised subsidiary of Gulfood Manufacturing.
“Exhibitor feedback suggests this year’s show is uncovering new regional trends with demand for natural and health-related products on an upward curve,” said Trixie LohMirmand, a senior vice-president at DWTC.
Industry heavyweight Döhler, the German global producer of natural ingredients, said an increasingly discerning regional consumer base has been driving change, with healthy products in high regional demand having the potential to grow further with time.
“Imported products in retail and hospitality indicate demand for more innovations in this direction and we expect the local manufacturing industry will soon be compelled to adapt to these forces,” said Shashank Vengsarkar, managing director of Dohler Middle East.
At Gulfood Manufacturing, Döhler plans to roll out creative solutions which, it says, will go some way to helping Middle East food producers keep up with changing demand.
“The range of innovations are broad and extend from high-quality dry ingredients and dry ingredient systems, integrated health and nutrition solutions, natural colour solutions and coating systems for confectionery to new flavour creations and applications specific to fruit ingredients,” Vengsarkar added.
Industry powerhouse IFFCO says healthy food has huge potential in the Middle East, where campaigns have led to greater consumer awareness of health related issues.
The UAE-based group is planning to conduct its own education initiative focused on naturally lowering the glycaemic index at this year’s Gulfood Manufacturing. The initiative, says IFFCO, is part of its focused commitment to health and wellness.
“Our product development teams are constantly reformulating products to lower or remove trans-fats, eliminate artificial colours and flavours, and minimise saturated fat, salt and sugar,” said Fernando Alberto Arias, IFFCO’s chief executive of food services.
“Throughout the region as federal and local government organisations focus greater attention on promoting healthy lifestyles to combat rising incidences of diabetes, there has been increasing industry attention on sugar reduction in fizzy drinks, salt reduction in packed products and clear food labelling to help assist wise buyer choices,” said LohMirmand, the organiser.
“The industry is changing, exhibitors are adapting to the change and regional manufacturers will follow suit, increasing investment levels in equipment, raw materials, ingredients and finished products.”