Amid rising trade between Italy and the Middle East when it comes to food and hospitality, HostMilano and TuttoFood held a panel discussion in Dubai on how it can continue to grow.
With the likes of Boushant Ghandi, commercial manager of Trubell, Uwe Micheel, chair of the Emirates Culinary Guild, and Mohamed Kamal, Middle East and Africa procurement manager for Millennium Hotels and Resorts, on the panel, it was a chance to discuss opportunities for growth in the sector.
The interest the event has attracted reflects opportunities for steadily growing trade. According to figures from the Ulisse Information System, the region’s markets imported professional hospitality products with a total worth of more than 12 billion euros last year, and Italy represented about 8% of these imports, worth about 915 million euros, ahead of Germany (2.4%). The area’s imports have grown by a total of 2.9 billion euros over the past 5 years (2012-2017), and Italian sales have grown by 252 million euros. The scenario for 2018-2021 suggests that imports in the sector will grow by an additional 1.9 billion euros in the area.
According to ISTAT and ITA Agency figures, Italian trade in F&B with the Middle East as a whole was worth about 410 million euros in exports and more than 26.5 million in imports in the first half of 2018 alone. Baked goods (106.6 million euros) and miscellaneous food products (154.4 million) are the categories most frequently exported from Italy to the Middle East, while the biggest imports are processed preserved meats (14.8 million euros) and processed and frozen fruit and vegetables (4.2 million).
The theme of the event was innovation and excellence to support the growth of the food and hospitality sector in the Gulf and had the involvement of over 70 selected representatives of the region’s business community including about 50 buyers from the UAE, Kuwait, and Bahrain.
The event was part of a programme organised by Fiera Milano involving participation in a series of workshops, events and trade fairs to introduce itself and monitor today’s most consolidated and promising markets. Significant stops on the promotional tour include, in addition to a number of Italian cities, Mexico City, Dubai, Lima, Munich, Moscow, and the US cities of Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas and Orlando.