Future Food Forum 2023: Sustaining the Path to a Greener F&B Sector | Tourismag.com
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In a groundbreaking announcement, the UAE Food & Beverage Business Group (F&B Group), with the esteemed patronage of the UAE Ministry of Economy and the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, unveiled the upcoming 5th edition of the Future Food Forum 2023. This event, a hallmark in its own right, is poised to assemble the largest gathering of distinguished executives and visionaries to delve into the flourishing F&B sector, which is on track to reach an impressive $94.4 billion this year. Scheduled for September 20 and 21, 2023, this endeavor is staunchly supported by the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism.


The Future Food Forum 2023 stands as a pivotal platform for driving the progress of the F&B industry, signifying the unwavering commitment of key stakeholders towards advancing sustainable well-being. Against the backdrop of an optimistic outlook fueled by expanding populations and rising per capita disposable income, this conference aims to address evolving consumption patterns. It will scrutinize various facets of the F&B sector's growth, touching upon investment trends, innovation, food security, and retail dynamics. The objective is to foster solutions that prioritize the holistic health and well-being of end consumers.


Notably, the Forum will highlight the achievements of the UAE F&B sector while delving into both domestic and international market access. It will explore investment opportunities and strategies for mitigating market risks, including inflation, food security, and the impacts of climate change. With participation from prominent global business councils and organizations like the International Islamic Food Processors Association (IFPA), the Forum aims to chart a roadmap for the F&B sector's trade ecosystem, aligning it with economic and climate sustainability goals in the UAE.


Saleh Lootah, Chairman of the UAE Food and Beverage Business Group, emphasized the dynamic nature of the market and its profound impact on industry players. He underscored the Forum's role as a pivotal platform for stakeholder interaction, fostering partnerships between government and private sector entities to propel the regional F&B sector forward. Lootah also highlighted the Forum's timing, taking place just weeks before COP28, with the intention of discussing key challenges and opportunities in the F&B sector to support the UAE's net zero targets, global food security, and industry leadership.


While the UAE ranks at the top in the Middle East and Africa for food security, it's worth noting that many countries in the region heavily rely on food imports and grapple with disruptions in food supply chains due to factors such as geopolitical conflicts and environmental challenges. In light of these issues, the Forum's discussions encompass a wide array of topics, including enhancing food security, driving environmental sustainability, analyzing venture capital trends in food tech startups, promoting impact investing and sustainable food initiatives, and exploring the role of food systems in the global climate dialogue.


Ahmed Al Shaibani, Project Head of Food Tech Valley, expressed enthusiasm about Food Tech Valley's strategic partnership with the Future Food Forum. He stressed the importance of partnerships within the F&B sector to establish a resilient and sustainable supply chain, aligning with the government's directives and sustainability goals.


Under the overarching theme of "Inspiring Sustainable Well-being," the Forum will delve into the evolving landscape of F&B manufacturing in the MENA region. Discussions will center on the growing consumer demand for healthier alternatives to traditional fast food and ready-made meals. This shift has prompted an increasing number of manufacturers and grocery stores to offer plant-based, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. Surveys indicate that 88% of consumers in the region are willing to pay a premium for healthier food choices.


In an exciting development, Free From Food Dubai, a leading innovation platform in Europe catering to the free-from, organic, vegan, functional, and healthy ingredient food industries, will co-locate with the Future Food Forum. Ronald Holman, Event Director, emphasized the alignment of Free From Food Dubai with UAE government initiatives and nutrition strategies aimed at reducing sodium and trans fats, promoting healthier snacks for children, and enhancing overall public health. The collaboration presents an excellent opportunity to position UAE food manufacturing on the global map within the healthy FMCG industry, offering insights from international industry leaders and showcasing innovative products.


This two-day event has garnered support from a growing list of sponsors, with IFFCO, AGTHIA, Almarai, SGS, and Hayatna leading the way as prominent partners. It will set the stage for high-impact panel discussions and presentations, shedding light on F&B sector trends and the engagement of governmental bodies with the food and beverage industry.


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