Dubai, UAE; February 22, 2018: For the second year in a row, the Italian Trade Agency (ITA) successfully hosted the Italian Food Lab at Gulfood, the five-day extravaganza of food and flavours. More than 190 Italian companies displaying authentic traditional Italian produce ranging from cheese, coffee, pasta to agricultural products, participated in the largest event of its kind in the region.
Gianpaolo Bruno, Trade Commissioner to the UAE, Oman and Pakistan at ITA, said: “According to recent reports, the food and beverage sector in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states is expected to continue to grow at a healthy 7.1% annually, reaching $196 billion by 2021, from the current $130 billion. This is a great opportunity for Italian companies as there is a growing demand for Italian produce, known for their quality, authenticity and gastronomical delights. Currently, Italian food exports to the UAE alone is worth over USD 350 million, and through events like Gulfood we are able to bring together makers of authentic Italian produce and major industry players in the region, to do business together. The Italian companies that participated in this year’s Gulfood experienced positive response. We look forward to strengthening Italy’s food trade with the region.”
The five-day event saw large crowds at the Italian Food Lab which attracted visitors with a stunning line up of cooking shows in collaboration with leading Chefs in Dubai including 3-star Michelin Chef Heinz Beck of Social by Heinz Beck; Marcello Rivetti of Bice Group; artisanal Head Chef Antonio Lacovelli of Trattoria Toscana; Andrea Russo, Resident Chef for Vivaldi and Chef Federico Teresi of Simply Italian. Several dishes were prepared and presented including perfect base sauces, pastas, fish and meat, vegetarian and Mediterranean cuisine and creative cuisine where the past meets the future bringing traditional delicacies to new levels.
There were also tasting sessions of all-time favourite dishes by participating companies, and informative sessions and workshops on EU quality logos - PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) and PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) which assure consumers of the traditional quality and authenticity of produce, in terms of regional origin or traditional production.
“Italian food is about health and an abundance of colours, flavours and authentic produce. Today, there are many fraudulent products in the market claiming to be authentic Italian, and consumers and the HORECA sector needs to understand how to identify the real from the fake. Therefore, we devoted our efforts during Gulfood to create awareness of the EU quality logos given to original ‘Made in Italy’ products,” added Gianpaolo Bruno.
To date, 293 Italian food products have been awarded with the prestigious traditional food laurel PDO and PGI, that makes Italy the market leader with the highest number of quality food protection labels received in the European Union.