Gulfood 2022 Food & Drink Exhibition: Back to business in person!

Gulfood 2022

Gulfood 2020 was the last large scale (in person) trade show that many in the food and beverage industry attended before the Covid-19 pandemic forced us to retreat into our homes in such an unprecedented way.

Since then, many of us have had to adapt to a new style of working and leverage technology to retain or establish our professional links. It really hasn’t been easy, juggling and blurring home and work lives in a way that has led some to exhaustion, elevated stress and despair.

As we entered 2022 there still seemed no end in sight, with the latest Omnicron variant appearing to be the next challenge we were going to face…and yet dare I say it, the Covid situation has somewhat dissipated, and life seems to be returning to normal. Certainly this is the case from a UK perspective, with no further Covid restrictions in place and the return to work based environments and socialising.

Here our founder Victoria talks about her latest experience of being part of Gulfood 2022.

Product samples ready to roll

After a bit of a struggle getting out of the UAE in January, I’m pleased to say, the Gulfood trade show this year (2022) was a huge success. The appetite to do business at the show was clear to see with the concourses and halls jam packed!

Back to the days of struggling to wheel my suitcase around, full to the brim of product samples to show potential buyers, what a great problem to have after so long- I am certainly not complaining!

Of course, the size of the show wasn’t quite as big as before with overflow halls set up in tents around the DWTC venue like I have seen before. Having said that, most of the usual halls were full and either divided by ‘food or drink category’ or by Country pavilions, like in the Trade Center Arena and Sheikh Saeed Halls.

Client Meetings

Most of my days at the show this year were taken up with meeting existing contacts, this was either on their own stand or in the infamous bustling coffee places in and around the DWTC.

Having not been able to travel the Middle East region that much these past two years, it was fantastic to have a whistle stop tour of the region and get up to speed on what is happening via my trusted contacts.

I am very much looking forward to getting out to more international markets in the months to come.

It was great to see the exhibition halls full of the usual big players as well as plenty of new faces and brands showcasing their products for the very first time.

Despite the mandatory mask wearing, there were certainly a lot of tired but content smiles behind the masks by the end of the trade show (it is a five-day show, one of the longest I know!)

The comments from those I spoke to about their participation was certainly favourable and they were pleased in the attendance and leads generated. Although, as we all know, it is down to the follow up and continuing those initial fruitful conversations back home as well as leveraging technology as much as we have learnt to do over the past couple of years.

Buyer Meetings

Having been fortunate enough to be in the market prior to the trade show, we spent a lot of time analysing the UAE market and its current trends and opportunities.

Many retailers and distributors were happy to open their doors for face-to-face meetings. As such, we were able to speak candidly, for much longer than a quick 10 minutes at the trade show and truly understand what they are actively looking for in terms of products/hot categories.

This short video gives more information on some of the opportunities available for brands here:


Current Opportunities in the UAE

If you’d like to apply for some of our current opportunities in the UAE, please click the button below and use the contact form associated with the relevant product opportunity.

Dubai Expo 2020

Finally, for those of you looking to visit the UAE before the end of March 2022 we can’t not mention the Dubai Expo 2020, which is a must visit attraction, even when you are away on business!

There is so much to see and many of the major airlines such as Emirates are offering a complimentary day pass for you to go and see this temporary Expo whilst you still can! I visited twice during my trip in the UAE – once in the evening and once during the day, both of which give you different experiences. Seeing the richness and experiences of the many pavilions are not to be missed! Personal highlights from me were the Saudi Arabia, the Women’s and the GCC Pavilions as well as the impressive Al Wasl Plaza with its light and entertainment show. Check out some of these photos from the Dubai Expo and make sure you take the time to see it if you can when in market!

All in all, I had an incredible and enjoyable time back out in the Middle East and participating in Gulfood. If you are considering attending or exhibiting at Gulfood 2023, take a look at our Top Three Tips For a Successful Gulfood Exhibition

We are now looking forward to the forthcoming London, UK shows which are IFE and Natural & Organic Products Europe (NOPE) in March and April 2022 respectively.  At the NOPE event I will also be speaking on global trading opportunities at the show and offering the 1000+ exhibitors the chance to connect and discuss their international needs and aspirations with myself and the team.

If anyone reading this is attending or exhibiting these shows and would like to meet with us there to discuss your internationalisation needs and support please get in contact via the form below to book a meeting.

We would be delighted to see you there and everyone hopefully starts getting out and about again!

Contact Us

    Sign up to the Bolst Global community for updates, information and opportunities