Exhibitors using Gulfood as launchpad for healthy food fare

Exhibitors using Gulfood as launchpad for healthy food fare

This year’s Gulfood exhibition is lining up major new healthy food launches as the demand for health, wellness and free-from rises in the MENA region.

Buoyed by a significant trend in mindful eating, exhibitors are preparing to launch new products with significant health and wellness benefits.

The health-focused products are a cornerstone of Gulfood’s new theme for 2019: ‘The World of Good, The World of Food’.

The launches come as Euromonitor International forecasts the MENA region’s health, wellness and free-from product sales will rise 7% over the next five years compared with a global average of 4% .

Euromonitor says regional consumers are paying more attention than ever to what they eat and are opting “for products that make them feel good and lead to long-term health benefits.”

With Euromonitor highlighting how regional consumers “are becoming more selective in their choices, prioritising fresh, natural and minimally processed food and drinks,” the research provider has identified regional key trends as: vegan and gluten-free products, along with plant-based proteins, products with low-calorie options and those with no ‘artificial’ ingredients, including sweeteners, as well as longevity foods such as avocado oil and dragon fruit.

Such is the region’s appetite for food with health benefits that Gulfood organiser DWTC has given Health, Wellness & Free-From its own showcase sector within the 2019 event.

“The importance of nutrition has spiralled in recent years,” explained Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Exhibitions & Events, DWTC.

“The advice to ‘eat well’ is no longer just about keeping our bodies healthy. Eating responsibly also implies a sense of knowing what and when to eat, as well as an awareness of where food comes from and how it is produced. The backstory of products is becoming as important as tastes.”

New Country Healthcare LLC (NCH), a Dubai-based distributor and retailer of health and wellness products, will leverage Gulfood 2019 to roll out healthy, new-to-market brands which promote a healthy lifestyle, according to the firm’s MD Nael Al Koudsi.

“Gulfood has always been a source of the latest trends and new brands,” said Al Koudsi. “NCH will use Gulfood, as the regional industry’s largest gathering of its type, to identify local and international partners to help us develop our brands in new territories.”

Identifying MENA trends shifting towards organic and natural products, as well as increased demand for clear and clean labels for product ingredients, NCH plans to launch three new brands into the market via Gulfood: specialised Fossil River liquid salts from Spain, which are naturally low in sodium; Jasberry from Thailand, which is crossbred rice and pasta made only from superfoods; and locally-produced SimplyDates – snack bars made purely with dates with 0 per cent added sugar.

Meanwhile, regional food supply giant Barakat Quality Plus, which will showcase a new range of ice pops and juices at the show, says the trend towards healthy food represents “a sea change in the consumer’s general outlook to what is good” for them.”

The company’s Managing Director, Chef Michael Gerhard Wunsch, says consumers now “go beyond just the information on labels and actively research food and beverage ingredients to clearly understand the benefits and pitfalls.” Wunsch believes the trend must be met by producers increasing innovation.

German exhibitor CSM Deutschland GmbH, a leading international manufacturer and supplier of baking and confectionery ingredients and frozen baked products, is looking to capitalise on the growing trend for health and wellness.

“Gulfood is a great opportunity for us to display our world-class portfolio of bakery ingredients, products and services. Our focus has always been on providing qualitative, nutritious and delicious baked products,” said Vladimir Trankovsky, VP International Operations, CSM Bakery Solutions.

“The industry is now being driven by consumer preferences towards healthier food options and mindful eating habits and CSM Deutschland GmbH focuses on sourcing the finest ingredients for health-minded consumers.”

Gulfood returns for its 24th edition at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from February 17-21, 2019.