Gulfood, which is currently being held in Dubai (21th – 25th February 2016), is the world’s largest annual food and hospitality show. From more than twenty years, Gulfood has been a central marketplace rich in business and networking opportunities for food, beverage and hospitality suppliers.
With a steady population growth and the expansion of the tourism industry, an annual increase of 7.8% of the tourist arrivals is planned between 2014 and 2024, the food and beverage market in the GCC countries is full of precious occasions. Between 2014 and 2019, food consumption is expected to grow at a 3.5 per cent CAGR reaching 51.9 million metric tons by 2019. Qatar and the UAE are the fastest growing markets as Saudi Arabia is the largest food-consuming nation.
The GCC countries import 90% of their food products and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) states that the value of those imports will reach $53.1 billion by 2020. With a young population, more than 50% under the age of 25, the region appears to be a promising market for Western products.
The healthy food market is also growing within the GCC countries. This trend appears to be linked to a real concern about health issues along with the constant increase of the obesity rates. The market for organic food is also increasing, it is estimated to reach $1.5 billion by 2018.
Concerning the UAE market, the country imports 85% of its food and re-exports about 50% of it, being a true gateway for the entire region. Between 2014 and 2024, UAE’s food imports are expected to rise from $100 billion to $400 billion. According to Euromonitor International, about 19,000 extra food and beverage outlets are expected by 2019.
 Compounded Annual Growth Rate
 Alpen Capital’s GCC Food Industry Report 2015
 GCC countries rely on food imports, finds report, Food News International, 12/ 5/14
 UAE’s food imports to rise to $400b in 10 years, Gulf News, 03/31/15