Enterprise Estonia (EAS) brought Estonian companies to the world’s biggest food & beverage trade fair named Gulfood 2021, which took place in Dubai at the end of February, with a joint national stand. The Estonian exhibition stand consisted of Balsnack International Holding, EBM Grupp, Valio Eesti, Karila, Revala and Salvest.
Marge Pihlapuu, Head of the International Sales Unit at Enterprise Estonia, stated that Estonian companies value the Gulfood trade fair because its visitors are not only from the United Arab Emirates but they also hail from other Middle Eastern countries as well as African and Asian countries. Pihlapuu explained, “We can meet potential partners here with whom we are unable to meet at European trade fairs, which opens up new markets and opportunities.” She added that due to the pandemic, clients from Saudi Arabia for example were unable to make it to the trade fair, but our companies were nevertheless very pleased with the quantity and quality of new business contacts.
Photo: Mo Younes
EBM Grupp produces cooking oils under the Oilio trademark in Estonia and they completed at least one transaction at the trade fair. “We gained some very good contacts and were able to complete at least one transaction on-site,” said Margit Toompalu, Sales Manager at EBM Grupp. The EBM Grupp has taken part in Gulfood on several occasions and she says it is essential to be constantly involved in order to enhance trust.
There are a plethora of events at Gulfood which occur parallel with the trade fair. This includes the food innovation competition entitled Gulfood Innovation Awards 2021, where the Estonian company Revala managed to reach the final stage in the innovative dairy products category. Their blackcurrant ice cream powder enriched with probiotics was what brought them this success.
Revala OÜ are a company which produces innovative ice cream powders and this was their sixth time taking part in the trade fair. Their sales manager Kai Lehe says that Gulfood is unquestionably the greatest trade fair in the region, as the trade fair hosts many visitors from the Arab world, Africa as well as Asia – there were visitors from 156 different countries this year.
Photo: Mo Younes
“Considering the present difficult situation, there were actually more guests than expected, however several of our potential partners could not make it,” said Lehe. “However, those who did arrive were more professional and knew the specific types of products they were searching for.” She added that the hard work will continue in order to get actual transactions from their trade fair contacts.
Gulfood is one of the biggest food & beverage trade fairs in the world and it is held annually at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Estonia had an exhibition stand for the fourth time.
Project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund.