Saturday 04 July 2020 - 5:09:51 pm

Mariam Al Mheiri reviews challenges of food security in UAE at 2nd Gulfood Innovation Summit

  • مريم المهيري : الأمن الغذائي أولوية إستراتيجية للقيادة الرشيدة
  • مريم المهيري : الأمن الغذائي أولوية إستراتيجية للقيادة الرشيدة

DUBAI, 20th February, 2020 (WAM) -- Mariam Hareb Almheiri, Minister of State for Food Security, reviewed the challenges facing food security in the UAE at the 2nd Gulfood Innovation Summit, highlighting that the issue represents a top priority for the UAE leadership.

She also shed light on the National Food Security Strategy and ways to enhance the use of technology in food production and the management system of the entire food value chain.

The summit, which was held from 17th to 19th February, 2020, saw enlightening insights and top-level discussions, with an illustrious line-up of food and beverage change-makers exploring new opportunities and potential for the regional and global markets and answering the call at Gulfood 2020 to "rethink food".

Running alongside was Gulfood 2020, the 25th edition of the region’s longest-running annual F&B trade show at Dubai World Trade Centre, DWCT, from 19th to 20th February. Hot topics under the summit spotlight included emerging trends that will shape F&B consumption, rethinking food to achieve zero hunger, the use of AI in transforming the industry, and many more.

Meanwhile, with "dramatic changes" afoot in Saudi Arabia’s F&B sector, consumers reacting positively to evolution, and the Kingdom’s authorities receptive to innovative F&B operators, H.H. Prince Waleed Naser Al Saud, President of the Saudi Arabia Restaurants and Cafes Association, Qoot, told the summit that the Kingdom is open for F&B businesses.

He addressed a panel session titled "Saudi Arabia: A New Vision". "There are new legislations all the time to ease the process of doing business in the country," said Prince Waleed, of Qoot, which is building partnerships across the F&B ecosystem, adding, "Music can now be played in restaurants, there is no longer segregation, live music is being played. A lot of dramatic changes are happening that have been welcomed by consumers that is why we have seen the positive impact."

"I do not think anybody can grasp the change. If there was ever a time for businesses to open in Saudi, it is now – particularly in casual and fine dining," said Prince Waleed, adding that Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Vision 2030 includes plans for Michelin-starred restaurants.

Andrey Dvoychenkov, Managing Director, MEA, at Nielsen, who was on the panel with Prince Waleed, cautioned operators to balance viewing the Kingdom as a land of opportunities with a long-term focus sustainable growth.

Insisting "healthy growth" should be the ultimate goal, Dvoychenkov revealed that the current regional trend of "promos" and a "price-off" between operators is not the answer to gain brand loyalty.

Optimising opportunities in the region’s hospitality sector will be further explored during GulfHost, the complete hospitality equipment sourcing expo for the Middle East, Africa and Asia, when it returns to DWCT from 6th to 8th April, 2020.


WAM/MOHD AAMIR/Hassan Bashir