DUBAI, UAE – More than 480 exhibitors from 40 countries are represented in the Beverages segment of the Gulfood 2017, which opened in Dubai yesterday (Feb 26).
According to market research leader Euromonitor International, which reports that consumer demand for taste, product knowledge and luxury experience is driving the growth of specialist teas and coffees in the Mena region, which accounts for 8 per cent, or $6.5 billion, of the world’s coffee market.
As consumers develop a thirst for premium taste and luxury experience, particularly in the Middle East, companies are increasingly having to diversify their offerings to attract today’s discerning drinkers.
Euromonitor forecasts that the hot beverages sector will grow by 5.2 per cent in the region over the next five years, more than double the global average of 2.4 per cent, as consumers with high spend per capita increase their consumption of quality coffee.
These evolving consumer tastes and trends will be the focus at the Beverages segment, one of eight dedicated sectors featuring in the new sectorised format at Gulfood, which will run till March 2 at Dubai World Trade Centre.
With more than $544.5 million spent on coffee in the UAE annually, one brand keen to show how it keeps pace with discerning customers is UAE-based Coffee Planet.
“Coffee culture has increased significantly in the Middle East, making it one of the fastest growing markets in the world for coffee consumption,” said Rob Jones, Coffee Planet managing director. “We have observed first-hand how consumers’ knowledge and appreciation for good quality coffee is constantly improving as they take an interest in flavour, origin and brewing methods used to create their cup of coffee. We pride ourselves in catering to all kinds of consumers from foodservice to retail.
“Differentiation is essential and coffee quality is one measure that guests will use when considering the overall standard of their experience.
We are in the process of exploring new options with coffee products, including single origin specialty Arabica coffees. We are currently working on our new cold brew and nitro coffees to further highlight our ability to make the latest specialty coffees that our customers are asking for.
“This exhibition is the ideal platform to strengthen our position as a coffee solutions leader, while providing the opportunity to explore new markets and discuss best practices. The exhibition also inspires innovations for the fast-growing coffee industry.”
Tea trends will also be on the agenda during Gulfood 2017 and with tea drinkers taking more of an interest in source and taste Unilever Food Solutions (UFS) will showcase its Tea Company concept and premium brand Pure Leaf.
Lucas Dollfuss of The Tea Company by UFS said: “Pure Leaf is a tea solution ideal for five-star hotels, high-end restaurants, and airlines for first and business class. It is made from single-origin tea leaves, rainforest alliance certified, and presented in either silk pyramid tea bags or premium loose tea.
“Pure Leaf has everything for discerning customers: taste, origin, wellness benefits and sustainability. The primary purpose of UFS is to provide not just products, but also a range of services that are designed especially for professionals.
“An exhibition such as Gulfood gives us the opportunity to showcase our premium products and the new sectorised format means we will now get quicker and easier access to our clients and potential new business.”
Trixie LohMirmand, senior vice president, Exhibitions & Events Management, DWTC, said: “With growing global beverage sales and changing consumer trends, nations and companies recognise the importance of building brand-trust. The new sectorised format of Gulfood 2017 will lead to more in-depth market insights and trend awareness.
“The sectorisation marks a new era for Gulfood as it creates better accessibility for visitors who are able to get straight to their target sector and make more effective use of their time by assessing quality and benchmarking prices in respective segments. This in turn boosts trading potential for exhibitors.”
Healthier soft drinks experiencing growth
The Beverages segment will also place a heavy focus on soft drinks, with the global soft drinks industry valued at $262 billion, according to IBIS World’s Global Soft Drink & Bottle Water Manufacturing research.
In the Mena region, performance drinks, functional beverages and reduced sugar and ‘superfruit’ juices are on the rise thanks to an increasing youth population, growing Middle Class and a desire for more modern, exciting soft drinks, claims Euromonitor International.