(MENAFN Press) Dubai's position as a primary global trading hub for the international halal food industry “ a strategic enabler in the emirate's long-term vision to become the global Islamic Economy capital - has received an immediate boost with thousands of specialist halal food companies readying for next month's inaugural Halal World Food presented by Gulfood, the world's biggest annual food and hospitality trade show.
As part of the 19th edition of Gulfood, running February 23-27 at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), more than 450 of the world's leading halal manufacturers, processors and distributors from over 50 countries will convene at the first Halal World Food.
With exhibitors from six continents displaying thousands of halal products “ from energy drinks, vegan and vegetarian foods to meat and poultry, canned goods, gourmet and fine foods “ Halal World Food will instantly establish a market-leading position as the world's biggest annual halal food sourcing trade show.
According to a Thompson Reuters report commissioned by the Dubai Government last November, the global halal food market has an estimated annual value of US 1 trillion “ which equates to approximately 20% of a global food market predicted to reach US 5.3 trillion by the end of 2014 (Datamonitor).
With GCC halal food imports “ according to the Economist Intelligence Unit “ set to jump from US 25.8 billion in 2010 to US 53.1 billion by 2020, the UAE's annual halal food imports will reach US 8.4 billion by the end of the decade
By positioning Dubai as a 'worldwide halal centre' at the forefront of global halal food industry growth, the Halal World Food is expected to generate significant inward investment opportunities for major international businesses eyeing regional buyers, suppliers, logistics providers and storage and transport solutions. The show will also see halal food policy-shapers and government organisations come together to discuss the implementation of far-reaching standarisation and certification frameworks
A specialist, show-within-a-show concept, Halal World Food will cover all halal-related aspects of global foodservice, retail and hospitality sectors to highlight the depth and variety of international halal products
"Dubai has the ambition and world-class infrastructure to serve as the economic hub of the worldwide halal food industry and the global Islamic Economy," said Helal Almarri, CEO, DWTC and Director General, Dubai Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM). "Given that Dubai already convenes the world's biggest annual gathering of food industry professionals at Gulfood, there was a strong catalyst to further our market proposition with the launch of Halal World Food “ a vibrant addition to the global halal food sector
"This new initiative represents an engaging, value-added proposition for our global network of food manufacturers and traders, and underlines the innovative vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Higher Committee for Development of Islamic Economy
"As the primary trading hub of the MENA region, which boasts the highest concentration of Muslims of any global region, Dubai's geographical position makes it the ideal location to serve at the convergence of Islamic finance and the halal food industry “ key drivers of international Islamic economics.
With the global halal market predicted to be a US 10 trillion industry by 2030 according to David Smith, Global Futures and Foresights Study, the emirate's visionary addition of Halal World Food to its international food strategy has already received backing from several heavyweight players in the global sector including Midamar Corporation, the USA's leading halal brand and a pioneering force in North American since 1974, Sadia International, one of the world's leading halal brands of chilled and frozen foods, and Al Ghurair Foods, the Dubai-based manufacturers of multi-product halal food lines
"Developing Dubai as an international Islamic Economic hub shows the foresight of its leaders and will provide opportunities for growth, development and prosperity in the region," said Jalel Aossey, Director, Midamar Corporation. "A new halal structured environment, supported by the government of Dubai, will encourage the UAE food industry to develop this large and growing food market.
The advent of World Halal Food comes as Dubai readies for a watershed year in its long-term strategy to establish global credentials as a market leader for halal finance, goods, services and certification.
Following the Government of Dubai launching its 'Dubai “ Capital of Islamic Economy' initiative last October, the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ESMA) and Dubai Municipality plan to introduce globally-recognised standards and certification for halal food products and slaughtering later this year
Halal food, according to the Food & Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), is defined by Islamic Law outlined in the Holy Qur'an as lawful food permitted for consumption. Halal food cannot consist of or contain anything which is considered unlawful under Islamic Law and there are strict criteria governing the entire supply chain - from slaughtering of animals, processing and transportation to kitchen preparation and storage.
"Islamic Services of America (ISA) fully supports the initiatives of the Dubai Government authorities to establish an international halal food and product accreditation centre," said Timothy Abu Mounir Hyatt, Managing Director, Islamic Services of America (ISA), the oldest and most internationally-renowned certifier in the USA
"Halal accountability and traceability are critical for the sake of Muslim consumers globally as they seek assurance that what they eat, use and enjoy are in compliance with Islamic Law. As a result, every international halal certifier should have credible processes and documentation supporting the halal integrity of the products they certify. ISA is proud to be known for its longstanding reputation and looks forward to working with its peers in the worldwide halal industry and furthering the Dubai team's efforts.
Gulfood 2014 and the World Halal Food are strictly trade-only events and open to business and trade visitors from within the industry only. The shows open 11am-7pm from February 23-26 and 11am-5pm on February 27. The online entry fee is AED150 (US 40) and onsite entry fee is AED250 (US 66.65). For more information, please visit www.gulfood.com or www.worldhalalexpo.com