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Major new healthy food launches planned for Gulfood as sector’s Mena growth set to outstrip global average

* Region’s health, wellness & free-from food sales to rise 7 per cent by 2023, says Euromonitor

Dubai, UAE –Major new healthy food launches are being lined up by exhibitors at Gulfood – the world’s largest annual food and beverage trade exhibition – which marks its 24th edition at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from February 17-21, 2019.

Buoyed by a significant trend in mindful eating, exhibitors are preparing to launch new products – many of which are free from gluten and dairy – with significant health and wellness benefits. The health-focused products are a cornerstone of Gulfood’s new theme for 2019: ‘The World of Good, The World of Food’.

The launches come as Euromonitor International, the world’s leading independent provider of strategic market research, forecasts the MENA region’s health, wellness and free-from product sales will rise 7 per cent over the next five years compared with a global average of 4 per cent. Euromonitor says regional consumers are paying more attention than ever to what they eat and are opting “for products that make them feel good and lead to long-term health benefits.”

With Euromonitor highlighting how regional consumers “are becoming more selective in their choices, prioritizing fresh, natural and minimally processed food and drinks,” the research provider has identified regional key trends as: vegan and gluten-free products, along with plant-based proteins, products with low-calorie options and those with no ‘artificial’ ingredients, including sweeteners, as well as longevity foods such as avocado oil and dragon fruit.

Such is the region’s appetite for food with health benefits that Gulfood organizer DWTC has given Health, Wellness & Free-From its own showcase sector within the 2019 event.

“The importance of nutrition has spiraled in recent years,” explained Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Exhibitions & Events, DWTC. “The advice to ‘eat well’ is no longer just about keeping our bodies healthy. Eating responsibly also implies a sense of knowing what and when to eat, as well as an awareness of where food comes from and how it is produced. The backstory of products is becoming as important as tastes.”

New Country Healthcare LLC (NCH), a Dubai-based distributor and retailer of health and wellness products, will leverage Gulfood 2019 to roll out healthy, new-to-market brands which promote a healthy lifestyle, according to Dr. Nael Al Koudsi, the firm’s Managing Director.

“Gulfood has always been a source of the latest trends and new brands,” said Al Koudsi. “NCH will use Gulfood, as the regional industry’s largest gathering of its type, to identify local and international partners to help us develop our brands in new territories. The market is having a positive inclination towards healthy options in the food and beverage sector. The consumer shopping experience has also changed in a short time as all the leading hypermarkets have started focusing on a dedicated area with a special section for healthy food options.”

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