October 11, 2008

Middle East Food Service Market’s Annual Value Estimated at Over USD 31 Billion

The Middle East food service market is estimated to be worth more than USD 31 billion annually, according to recent studies, with the growing population, relatively high purchasing power and significant rise in the number of tourists considered as the primary factors sustaining the market's multibillion dollar operations. Reports have also revealed that the region is the largest consumer of canned tuna from Thailand in terms of export volume, due to the growing demand for such products within the regional food service industry. In line with this, the second edition of 'Sea Food Expo 2008', the region's only dedicated seafood event, is being eyed as a unique platform for leading Thailand-based seafood manufacturers to leverage the booming Arab food service industry.

Canned and frozen seafood products are highly utilised by leading fast food chains across the MENA region, with most of the products being imported from renowned seafood-exporting destinations such as the USA, Thailand and Malaysia. Canned tuna products have proven to be a top-grosser in the seafood category, with the region ranking second only to the US in terms of volume consumption of tuna exports, and purchase of nearly 5,000 full container loads annually. The regional canned seafood market is thus seen by many as an important market, which can be further explored through participation at this year's 'Sea Food Expo', which will run from October 27 to 29, 2008 at the Madinat Arena Conference Hall in Madinat Jumeriah Hotel.

"The Middle East's food service industry has greatly benefitted from the region's expanding population, rising purchasing power and high volume of tourist inflow. These have led to elevated demand for the various product categories offered by this rapidly growing sector," said Raees Ahmed, Director, Orange Fairs & Events. "The seafood market in particular has been thriving in the UAE and other top GCC economies; the canned seafood segment is thus expected to enjoy brisk business as influenced by this trend. 'Sea Food Expo 2008' will gather the world's leading seafood exporters and customers to explore the Middle East's promising canned seafood market in particular and the overall regional seafood industry in general while discussing strategies and standards needed to sustain the productivity of the export seafood market."

With a population with high disposable incomes, and a booming hospitality and food service sectors, 'Sea Food Expo 2008' aims to provide exhibitors the right platform to penetrate a market that demands a wide selection of high quality and specialty seafood and seafood products. Confirmed exhibitors for 'Sea Food Expo 2008' include companies from the U.S.A., U.K., Canada, France, Belgium, Holland, Taiwan, Malaysia, India, China, Cyprus, Vietnam, Morocco, Norway, Northern Ireland, Iceland, U.A.E., Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Thailand, Brazil, Spain, Yemen, Mauritius, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. This includes leading companies from Thailand like Thai Union Frozen Products PCL, Lucky Union Foods Co. Ltd, Department of Fisheries Thailand, MMP International Co. Ltd, and Food Cyber.

"The renewed presence of exhibitors from last year's event bears testimony to the outstanding opportunities, which 'Sea Food Expo' has brought to them, thereby, prompting them to participate again this year. By addressing the importance of a common platform for the regional and international seafood industry to exhibit their world- class products, we have gained a steady following from the world's leading seafood companies, which further enhance the credibility of the event. We are looking forward to welcoming all of them and to provide a great opportunity for them to gain substantial contacts and broaden their network in this high potential market," concluded Ahmed.

Following the success of last year's event, which has attracted 85 high profile seafood companies from across the globe, the organizer is anticipating the participation of more than 170 companies from 30 countries this year. Several government bodies from across the globe have also renewed their participation to establish a more significant presence this year. This includes the New Brunswick Department of Fisheries, Underwater Harvest Association, the Consulate of Canada in Dubai, the Malaysian Department of Fisheries, the Vietnam Seafood Exporters Association, the Taiwan Frozen Seafood Industry Association, the Canadian Sablefish Association, the Marine Export Promotion and Development Authority (MEPDA) India, the Department of Fisheries Thailand and the Myanmar Fishery Products Processors and Exporters Association (MPEA).About Orange Fairs & EventsOrange Fairs & Events is a leading Dubai-based organization that provides events related services especially in the Middle East market. The company promotes over 100 exhibitions annually in Africa, CIS, Middle East and Eastern Europe, covering industries ranging from general trade exhibitions, electrical and electronics, manufacturing, health, automobiles, gold & jewellery, metalworking, oil and gas, telecommunications, IT, printing & packaging, food & hotel, building & construction among others. For more information about the exhibition and the company, visit www.orangefairs.com.

2008 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

Originally published by By Al-Bawaba Reporters.

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