The Future Food Forum 2023, the Middle East’s premier annual gathering of industry leaders, kicked off with a focus on regional food security, sustainability, innovation, and consumer well-being. The event, held at Le Meridian Hotel Dubai, gathered F&B industry leaders, government officials, and business executives to discuss the theme of “Inspiring Sustainable Well-being.”
The event discussed the urgency of food security, technological innovation in agri-tech and vertical farming, and the government’s support for in-country value projects within the food sector.
The first day featured focused sessions on India and KSA, addressing topics like the India-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and investment trends in food tech startups which is poised to fortify food security and sustainability through cross-border collaboration. Other sessions provided valuable insights into investment trends in food tech startups, sustainable food initiatives, government-backed funding opportunities, and the growth potential of Saudi Arabia’s F&B industry in line with Vision 2030.
Abdulla Al Saleh, the Under Secretary of Foreign Trade and Industry at the UAE Ministry of Economy, inaugurated the event and highlighted the importance of self-reliant food supplies and agri-tech for food security in the Middle East.
Mohammad Ali Al Kamali, COO of Manufacturing and Exports Development, Dubai Industries and Exports, stressed the significance of the food and beverage manufacturing sector in the economy, emphasizing its role in economic growth, job creation, food safety, and meeting nutritional requirements.
The UAE Food & Beverage Business Group (F&B Group) launched the UAE Food Platform during the event, a platform that integrates UAE food data for strategic decision-making. Additionally, the ‘Ishraq Program’ was introduced as part of the Emiratization initiative, aiming to develop local talent in the UAE’s F&B sector.
Saleh Lootah, Chairman of the UAE Food and Beverage Business Group, emphasized the transformation of the F&B sector in the region, with a focus on promoting ‘UAE-made’ food products for global markets.
The “Free From Food” exhibition highlighted the Healthy, Organic, Vegan, Plant-Based, Functional, and Free-From food sectors in the Middle East. Sessions explored strategies for promoting locally-grown produce, addressing climate change’s impact on food security, and fostering a circular economy in the food sector.
Future Food Forum 2023 laid out a comprehensive roadmap for the food sector’s trade ecosystem to achieve economic and climate sustainability goals in the UAE.