Despite COVID restrictions that limited the number of visitors to the Dubai World Trade Centre, Gulfood 2021 was held in late February, attracting 2,500 companies and organizations from 85 countries. The five-day event was the first in-person global food and beverage industry show in the past 12 months that allowed out-of-country visitors.
Funded by the Beef Checkoff Program and the Texas Beef Council, the effort included USMEF representatives answering questions about U.S. beef and arranging face-to-face meetings between U.S. red meat exporters and importers from emerging markets such as the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain and Kuwait.
The venue’s floor, which was divided into eight different food and beverage sectors, featured a number of special themed professional areas: Tastes of the World, Future for Food, Start-up Programs and the Innovative Summit.
“Although there were limits to what we could do at this year’s Gulfood – we could not exchange printed materials, for example – it was nice to see many of our partners and customers in person again and interact with them,” said Eliane Elia, USMEF representative in the Middle East. “Travel and quarantine restrictions resulted in less foot traffic to the USMEF booth, but we were still able to reach a number of potential customers, connect importers with exporters and make future business plans.”