JEDDAH – As the Middle East’s largest economy and population, accounting for 64 percent of the GCC’s total food consumption, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia presents unmatched business and trade opportunities for the food and beverage (F&B) sector. Currently worth over $50 billion and expected to grow by 9 percent percent by 2017, the market is driven by a combination of double-digit population growth and a robust oil-based economy.
An efficient, effective and convenient route to entering the F&B market in the Kingdom is through Foodex Saudi 2014, an industry exhibition organized by Reed Sunaidi that enjoyed overwhelming success when it launched in 2013. Having secured more than $30 million in business deals for its 300 pioneering brands in the show’s inaugural year, this year’s event is expected to attract many more exhibitors and even greater business opportunities.
Taking place on Nov. 17-20, 2014 at the Jeddah Centre for Forums and Events with over 10,000m² exhibition space allocated to Foodex Saudi 2014, the organizers are expecting sellout success well before the show.
Simon Blazeby, Head of Exhibitions for Reed Sunaidi, said: “Foodex Saudi enjoyed great success last year, both in terms of business written for our exhibitors and also because more than 10,200 visitors visited the show. Over 300 brands were showcased last year, many of whom have become show ambassadors for us this year thanks to the success they enjoyed.
“There is no doubt that the KSA market holds exceptional potential for F&B companies around the world, and exhibitors benefit immediately from Reed Sunaidi’s reach and expertise in doing business in this burgeoning market.”
Following its success last year, the show will once again run its Hosted Buyer Programme (HBP) to facilitate valuable introductions and business contacts between customers and exhibitors. More than 200 buyers are expected to participate this year.
Also taking place alongside Foodex Saudi is the Saudi Food Forum, a key industry conference that will focus this year on market trends in food distribution and hospitality, as well as the critical issues of wastage, food security and food safety. Experts and authorities from the Kingdom and around the world are expected to attend.
Currently, Saudi Arabia spends only four percent of its foreign currency on food imports, meaning that it can import its food requirements from international sources.
It was noted that even in times of high food prices such as 2008, Saudi Arabia had not faced difficulties in securing food imports. This secure position is expected to continue as long as the country maintains strong exports and that food is available on international markets.
At the household level, Saudi Arabia is also generally food-secure due to relatively high per capita incomes – about $2,000 a month1 – and high social spending.