(MENAFN - Arab News) The Kingdom's first and biggest international trade food and beverage exhibition, FoodEx Saudi 2013, has concluded at the Jeddah Center for Forums & Events, with more than 300 international brands from 27 countries looking for an opportunity to enter into the Saudi food market.
The event, which was organized by Reed Sunaidi Exhibitions and held under the patronage of the Ministry of Agriculture, was launched by Khalid Al-Fuhaid, deputy minister of agriculture.
A Saudi Food Forum organized by the Halal Development Council was held on the sidelines of the expo, where several prominent international and local delegates in the food and beverage industry took part.
Discussions among delegates in the food and beverage industry included topics such as the development of the local food and agriculture industry, food safety and security, supply chain logistics, harmonization of halal food standards and food investment and marketing opportunities.
In his speech, Al-Fuhaid said the Kingdom has always sought to achieve integration of food items through the process of balance between imports and exports of food items, noting that the Kingdom would not close its doors for the import of food products from all over the world as long as the Saudi market remains an attractive environment for investors.
Participating international food companies exhibited their products with an objective of getting hold of local distributors.
"Our main goal in participating in FoodEx is to find someone in Saudi Arabia who is interested in our products," said Stephan Suchert, area manager of Zott, a German company specializing in dairy products.
"We also want to present our products in Saudi Arabia's supermarket chains and we believe that our high-quality products will find a market here."
Suchert said their branded products and were selling in more than 75 countries around the world.
"We're very satisfied with the result of the exhibition," said Enrique Santero from the Export department of Feyce, a Spanish company dealing with honey packing.
"We managed to attract many very important and well-known visitors from the Saudi food sector."
"We were aware that honey is very common among Saudis, making it our prime reason for targeting the Saudi market," added Santero.
"Our products are selling in over 25 countries worldwide and we have already been selling our honey in large quantities to the food industry in Saudi Arabia, but this time, we are planning to focus and sell our products in retail."
Georgios Kostoglou, general manager at Golden Greek Products, elaborated on their current motive of focusing on the Arabian Peninsula.
"Saudi Arabia is a big market and we're very interested in being part of it. I'm glad they invited international companies to participate in this exhibition. It gives us an opportunity to showcase and educate the Saudi people about our products."
"We are keen on familiarizing ourselves with Saudi Arabia's trade culture and are looking to win their trust," added Kostoglou.
The expo revealed that demand for organic food in the Kingdom was making its place in the Saudi market.
In lieu of almost every segment in the food and beverage industry, FoodEx Saudi presented a complete scope product showcase, with everything from food ingredients, prepared meals, gourmet and organic products to health foods, food technology and packaging, confectionery and baked goods on display.
"The Saudi food and beverage industry is in the midst of a boom and is forecast to grow significantly over the next five years to not only sustain domestic demand, but meet its international export potential, too. FoodEx Saudi aims to connect international brands to this ripen market opportunity while showcasing Saudi Arabia's potential as a global F&B hub," said Simon Blazeby, director of Reed Sunaidi Exhibitions.