Saudi's inaugural food expo 'a big hit'
Riyadh, December 19, 2013
Saudi Arabia’s first international food and beverage trade exhibition, Foodex Saudi 2013, has been heralded a resounding success by government entities, international exhibitors and visiting industry professionals.
The four-day event was officially opened by Khalid Al-Fuhaid, Deputy Minister of Agriculture at the Jeddah Centre for Forums & Events on December 8.
Foodex Saudi was a major success attracting more than 300 brands from 27 countries, all eager to strengthen their footprints in the Saudi market.
In his opening speech, Al-Fuhaid said Saudi Arabia has always sought to achieve integration of food items through the process of balancing imports and exports. "The Kingdom would not close its doors to imports of international food products as long as the Saudi market remains an attractive environment for investors," he noted.
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, Foodex Saudi was conceived to help support the Kingdom’s increasing food consumption needs while showcasing its international export potential.
A total of 10,200 trade visitors were recorded over the four days of the show. Among the delegates were buyers, distributors, retailers, and restaurateurs, allowing exhibitors the opportunity to meet directly with purchasing decision makers.
“We’ve been really impressed with Foodex Saudi and the caliber of visitors,” said Enrique Santero from the Export Department of Spanish Feyce. “Saudi Arabia is a big market and it is important for us to win the confidence of local distributors. We have made some excellent connections during the event and are hopeful these will convert into deals in the coming months,” he noted.
The sentiment was echoed by Dawood A. Bindawood, the general manager of Danube. "Saudi taste preferences are changing so we need international events like Foodex Saudi in order to keep abreast of global trends and to source new products and flavours. We’ve met some interesting suppliers with whom we are keen to do business so from that perspective the event was well worth attending."
"We were impressed with this first edition of Foodex Saudi and believe it will be even better next year," he added.
The Saudi Food Forum, organised by the Halal Development Council, was held on the sidelines of the expo, where several prominent international and local delegates in the food and beverage industry took part.
Discussions among delegates in the food and beverage industry included topics such as the development of the local food and agriculture industry, food safety and security, supply chain logistics, harmonization of halal food standards and food investment and marketing opportunities.
Simon Blazeby, the director, Reed Sunaidi Exhibitions said, "For a launch show Foodex Saudi has surpassed our expectations on many levels. We’ve attracted excellent international exhibitor participation, high yet targeted visitor footfall and strong support from government and industry stakeholders."
"The Saudi F&B market is poised for significant growth over the next five years and the response to Foodex Saudi confirms the event’s position as a gateway to a potential $70 billion market opportunity," he added.
According to him, Foodex Saudi will return bigger and better in 2014 a month earlier from November 24 to 27.-TradeArabia News Service