IMES Research @ Gulfood 2011

Gulfood 2011 appears to have been a massive success, given the rather politically charged environment in the MENA region currently. The trade fair was bigger than ever, with regional dairies, beverage companies and raw material/packaging suppliers coming out in force, both as exhibitors and fair visitors. The buzzwords were new product launches, and of course recovery from the economic crisis that caused rather a lot of firefighting on the part of regional suppliers over the last couple of years. In the tradition of global trade fairs, Gulfood was used by a couple of key suppliers to launch brand extensions (Al Ain Mineral Water Company’s new functional flavoured water ‘WoW’ caught my eye….) – a very encouraging development I think.

IMES Research participated at Gulfood’s conference this year by presenting some facts and forecasts on the beverage market across the Middle East. A particular focus was directed to markets traditionally difficult to access – Iran and Iraq (originally Libya was meant to be a focus but recent events forced us to tweak our agenda….).  Developments in both have been significant.  Click on the link to access the presentation: IMES Research – MIDDLE EAST BEVERAGE MARKET

Despite the ongoing turmoil in the region it was good to see that both exhibitors and visitors kept their nerve. Even in times of crisis the food and beverage sectors tend to be the most resilient of course among consumer goods so anybody in the supply chain can ill-afford to turn their backs. There are challenges ahead for sure (tourism in the region will no doubt take a battering, there will be some supply issues in various areas and some countries (Libya the most extreme) are facing a population outflow that may well have a more lasting impact on per-capita consumption), but opportunities will emerge. The region has never been the easiest to operate in, but growth rates are still significantly higher than elsewhere in the world. So continue to keep an eye on those ‘difficult’ markets….. Thorsten

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