A recent mission to Dubai in collaboration with the Regione Lombardia and Assolombarda has consolidated opportunities in this geographical area for Italian agri-food companies.
Agri-food trade between Europe and the Gulf Countries is continuously growing: according to the most recent Export Planning data, it is estimated that in 2021 trade exceeded €5 billion and will reach €6.7 billion by 2025 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.2%. The Emirates contribute €1.7 billion to the overall figure (€2.4, estimated in 2025), making it the second largest market in the region.
The most significant product group among European exports is baked goods and desserts (1.26 billion in 2021 and 1.57 by 2025, +6.2%) followed by milk and dairy products (1.22 billion in 2021 and 1.43 by 2025, +4.1%). The sector expected to experience the greatest growth in trade from the UAE to European markets is Water and soft drinks (€63 million by 2025, up from €22 million in 2021).
That's why from February 12th to 15th, at the Gulf Food event, Assolombarda organised a multi-sector mission of companies that, in addition to furniture and design, also saw Food & Beverage and hospitality, with the joint participation of HostMilano and TUTTOFOOD. More specifically, on February 14th Fiera Milano organised, alongside Regione Lombardia and Assolombarda, a networking cocktail in which a selection of major Lombardy agri-food companies met with local stakeholders and the media.
Historically there has been significant participation of buyers from Gulf Countries at TUTTOFOOD. As Amr Tawfik, Commercial Manager of Arabian Stores Co. (Sarawat) (Saudi Arabia) explains: “Being at TUTTOFOOD really makes a difference. At the exhibition, we have the opportunity to see and try a huge range, from traditional products to emerging trends. We often get to discover innovative new products as well as gain significant insights into how key industry trends are evolving.”
“We are interested in different product categories, from frozen to packaged products,” adds Marwan Al-Hamdani, F&B Division Manager, Al-Majid (Dubai). “We know that the companies at TUTTOFOOD, and the Italian ones in particular, possess great know-how and a keen capacity for innovation, and we always find solid partners at the exhibition who can effectively respond to the demands of our target markets.”
“I believe that it is highly important to take part in TUTTOFOOD in person, because every market has specifications that can only be met by establishing a direct, personal rapport with the business partner. Seeing and physically touching products is key to understanding whether or not particular merchandise will sell in our market, which is very unique,” concludes. K. K. Usman, Operations, 5 Group Trading (Qatar).
The next window of opportunity is TUTTOFOOD 2023, taking place at fieramilano from May 8th to 11th, 2023.