UAE Food & Beverage Business Group (F&B Group), under the patronage of the UAE Ministry of Economy and Dubai Chamber of Commerce, announced the 5th edition of the Future Food Forum 2023, which continues to drive the progress of the F&B sector and symbolizes the relentless efforts of key stakeholders in the field to promote sustainable well-being. The event is supported by the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism and will take place on 20 and 21 September 2023.
One of the largest platforms hosting top executives and policymakers, Future Food Forum 2023 will address evolving consumption patterns and analyze various aspects of growth in the F&B sector, which is expected to reach $94.4 billion this year. It will discuss trends and challenges in investments, innovation, food security, and retail to enable solutions that ensure end consumers' holistic health and well-being.
Against the backdrop of optimism generated by growing populations and higher per capita disposable income, the conference will address changing consumption paradigms. The Forum will underline the progress of the UAE F&B sector while discussing market access domestically and internationally, fostering investment opportunities and managing market risks, such as inflation, food security and climate change impact. With participation from leading business councils worldwide and organizations, such as the International Islamic Food Processors Association (IFPA), the Forum will lay the roadmap for enabling the food sector's trade ecosystem to achieve economic and climate sustainability goals in the UAE.
"The market has become highly dynamic, and as a result, all industry players have been significantly impacted in recent years. The industry has had to adapt to changing trends, shifting consumer preferences, evolving opinions on health and wellness and rising inflation. The Forum is a platform for stakeholder interaction and creating partnership opportunities for various government and private sector players to drive the regional F&B sector forward,” commented Saleh Lootah, Chairman of the UAE Food and Beverage Business Group.
He added, “The Forum is taking place a few weeks before COP28, and we hope to discuss the key challenges and opportunities in the F&B sector and its contribution to the UAE’s net zero targets and global food security and create a roadmap for industry leadership. At the core of future food innovation lies the promotion of robust collaboration and alliances to build a resilient and sustainable food ecosystem."
While the UAE ranks on top in the Middle East and Africa for food security among the 56 countries with the lowest risk in terms of managing food security, most countries in the MEA rely heavily on food imports and face disruptions in food supply chains due to factors such as geopolitical conflicts, and drought or floods. In light of these, various topics discussed at the event include Boosting Food Security and Driving Environmental Sustainability, Venture capital and funding trends in food tech startups, Impact investing and sustainable food initiatives, the Role of food systems in global climate dialogue, analysing the pros and cons of wellness trends etc.
“As a strategic partner of Future Food Forum, we look forward to meeting stakeholders and exploring potential collaborations. Food Tech Valley is on a mission to grow a sustainable food ecosystem for the UAE, aligning with the government's strategy and directive. Key partnerships between different stakeholders in the F&B sector are vital to build a resilient sustainable supply chain and empower our business environment,” commented Ahmed Al Shaibani, Project Head of Food Tech Valley.
The event's overarching theme of "Inspiring Sustainable Well-being" will resonate with the F&B manufacturing landscape in the MENA region; discussions will focus on consumers looking for healthier alternatives to conventional fast food and ready meals. This has led to more manufacturers and grocery shops offering plant-based, vegetarian and gluten-free options. In fact, research shows that 88% of consumers in the region are willing to pay more for healthier food.
Free From Food Dubai, Europe’s leading innovation platform for the free from, organic, vegan, functional and healthy ingredient food industries, is co-locating under the Future Food Forum. Ronald Holman, the Event Director, commented, “The ideology at the heart of Free From Food Dubai directly aligns with UAE government initiatives and nutrition strategies to reduce sodium and trans fats, offer healthier snacks for children and improve the general health of the nation. This will be a great opportunity to put UAE food manufacturing on the map within the international healthy FMCG industry. The event presents a to be at the forefront of the healthy food movement in the Middle East and learn from global industry keynote speakers and our innovative international product showcase.”
The two-day event is supported by a growing list of sponsors, including IFFCO, AGTHIA, Almarai, SGS and Hayatna as leading partners, and industry organizations such as IFPA. The Forum set the stage for several high-octane panel discussions and presentations assessing F&B sector trends and showcasing government engagement with the food and beverage sector.