Maktoum bin Mohammed opens Gulfood 2021

Maktoum bin Mohammed opens Gulfood 2021

- Dubai reinforces status as international food trade hub with first global in-person F&B event in the past 12 months
- Gulfood 2021 welcomes 2,500 participating companies from 85 countries
- Food production powerhouses including Italy, Germany France, Turkey and Austria return in force to the event
- Five-day event inspires confidence after challenging year

His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, said today that the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, continues to guide the development of Dubai’s value proposition and supportive environment for businesses. Under Sheikh Mohammed’s leadership, Dubai has further reinforced its partnership with the local and global private sector to renew growth and development. This partnership has been a key factor behind the emirate’s ability to take decisive action to ease the challenges resulting from the pandemic and drive rapid recovery. Dubai’s leadership is committed to help the private sector enhance the momentum of their growth in all sectors, including the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibition (MICE) sector, he stressed.

His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed’s comments came at the opening of the 26th edition of Gulfood 2021 at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). The landmark five-day trade show, the first global in-person F&B event to be held in the past 12 months, has drawn 2,500 companies from 85 countries, reinforcing its position as a major global F&B industry event.

The Deputy Ruler of Dubai said the emirate’s science-based strategic planning and continued monitoring of data emerging from the prevailing situation enables it to be flexible, speedy and decisive in responding to rapidly changing developments. Dubai continues to provide the ideal base for global companies to tap opportunities not only in the region, but also some of the world’s fastest growing markets surrounding it, he said.

His Highness visited the Italian Pavilion, one of the largest pavilions at this year's Gulfood, with more than 120 companies that are showcasing Italy's innovative initiatives and products focused on food sustainability and healthy food. Italy exports about $5 billion worth of these products annually. The Deputy Ruler of Dubai also visited the pavilion of France, one of the UAE's leading trading partners in food products. The 30 French companies participating in the event are seeking to strengthen relationships with the region's major F&B manufacturers and producers.

His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed praised the measures taken by the Dubai World Trade Centre to ensure the safety of all exhibitors and visitors. These measures are aligned with Dubai's efforts to ensure the highest standards of preventive protocols in all economic sectors and its strategy to revitalise business activity and growth, His Highness said.

After one of the most challenging years in the industry’s history, Dubai’s status as a pivotal hub for global trade and its ability to provide a safe business environment has generated tremendous interest in Gulfood 2021. To be held over five days, from 21-25 February, the trade show will provide extensive opportunities for exhibitors to strike deals with buyers eager to fill their order books. Visitors can see the latest product innovation and technology showcased at the event.

Food producing powerhouses and Gulfood stalwarts including Italy, Germany France, Turkey and Austria have returned in force, highlighting the event’s ability to ensure safety and provide exceptional sourcing prospects. The participation of manufacturers from Uzbekistan and Georgia, newcomers to the event, further validates the business potential of the trade show.

HE Mariam Al Mheiri, UAE Minister of State for Food and Water Security, will deliver the opening address at the Gulfood Innovation Summit on 22 February. Her address will be focused on the UAE National Food Security Strategy, which seeks to place the country among the top 10 nations in the Global Food Security Index.

His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA) and Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) said:

“We are extremely grateful for the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, as we bring together the global food industry at this much-anticipated 26th edition of Gulfood. Industry trust in Gulfood reflects confidence in Dubai as a strategic gateway for global F&B trade, its vision to connect the biggest success-makers and brightest minds from established and new markets, and its ability to lead by example in providing a safe face-to-face business environment.

Gulfood was the only in-person global F&B event held in 2020. Extensive industry feedback and strong interest and support from F&B and hospitality stakeholders drove our decision to host the world’s first in-person trade show for 2021. The result is the most sought-after, safest and competitive face-to-face industry event, which promises to generate a large number of high value trade deals over the next five days,” added Almarri.

Validating Gulfood’s importance to the sector, 110 leading lights in the F&B business will gather at the event. C-suite executives from supply chain leaders DHL and Emirates SkyCargo; CMOs of global powerhouses Microsoft, Pizza Hut and PepsiCo; CEOs of regional stars Majid Al Futtaim and Lulu International Group; world-renowned Michelin Star chefs and the UAE’s top culinary titans will deliver valuable insights and perspectives on the ‘new normal’.

With the show’s timely return and DWTC’s commitment to strict health and safety protocols, businesses are buoyed by the prospect of securing orders early to gain crucial first-mover advantage. Gulfood is set to support the industry’s efforts to create a transformative year.

Innovation Summit to foster dialogue on key issues

Gulfood Innovation Summit, to be held from 22 – 24 February, will gather the world’s leading government leaders, food scientists, analysts, influential chefs, and industry pioneers to discuss and explore innovations that aim to revolutionise the future of food and discuss emerging themes and prospects that have arisen out of global efforts to combat COVID-19.

The UAE National Food Security Strategy will be one of the key topics featured in Summit. Other industry topics to be discussed include adapting to healthier, sustainable lifestyles; supply chain opportunities; tourism and retail; and leveraging emerging and future food technologies.

Running alongside the exhibition will be the new Marketing Society Speaker Series, held in partnership with The Marketing Society. With a full day of sessions to be held on 22 February in Hall 2, the exhibition will bring the industry’s brightest storytellers together to address topics such as evolving consumer preferences and future strategies.

Aimed at FMCG marketers, speakers include Peter DeBenedictis, CMO Microsoft – MEA who will be hosting the session ‘Purpose Driven Marketing’; Beverly D’Cruz, Chief Brand Officer – Pizza Hut, META, who will be hosting the session ‘Food and/or digital product launches which address consumer needs during/post Covid-19’. Mustafa Shamseldin, Chief Marketing Officer – Africa, Middle East and South Asia – PepsiCo, and Maria Gedeon, Director of Sales & Marketing, Majid Al Futtaim, will discuss the ‘Future of marketing and advertising food products’ in the afternoon sessions.

Visitors will have exclusive opportunities to meet and gain insights from international culinary stars including leading chefs, authors and F&B industry leaders who will share their experiences, passions, and creativity at Gulfood’s four-day ‘Chef Talks Stage’ in Hall 8 from 21 – 24 February.

Chef Talks will feature a session titled ‘Fine Cuisines with Ingredients from the Wilderness’ with Italy’s Norbert Niederkofler, winner of three Michelin Stars. Another highlight is the launch of Gulfood’s Chef Club, a global F&B industry first that will see the top 30 UAE top chefs unite for a series of year-round culinary initiatives.

Underlining its position at the heart of the food industry, Gulfood 2021 will generate insights on the future of F&B at the First in Food Workshops hosted by leading industry experts who will discuss a range of topics including food safety, innovation, sustainable dining, and F&B design. A line-up of 31 renowned culinary creators, including five Michelin Star chefs from Germany, Italy and Portugal will take part in masterclasses and sessions in acrobatic pizza, pastry art, and the secrets of the flour kitchen at Gulfood’s popular ‘Tastes of the World’, which opens today in Hall 8 and will take place across all five days.

Safety at Gulfood

Gulfood 2021 will be held under stringent safety and hygiene protocols. DWTC has proved its capability to curate the safest face-to-face business environment and deliver world-class events with the highest safety protocols, as evidenced by the recent GITEX Technology Week - the only live in-person tech event of 2020. Held in December, the event welcomed tens of thousands of local and international visitors, 96% of whom reported a ‘safe’ or ‘very safe’ experience.

DWTC’s proven protocols have been further intensified for Gulfood 2021, under strict guidance and coordination with the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and Dubai Municipality, to ensure the safest possible business conditions. Wearing of masks is mandatory, and social distancing is in place to ensure the wellbeing of all delegates. On-site registration will not be available; registration must be completed in advance via

The show is co-located with GulfHost, the ultimate trading platform for the hospitality equipment & foodservice Industry. For more information, please visit

More information on safety guidelines at the event can be found on

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