The 21st edition of Gulfood is on track to kick off as scheduled on February 21 and run for five days through the 25th at the Dubai World Trade Center in the United Arab Emirates. With visitors and exhibitors alike concerned about potential exposure to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic threat, organizers of the live show are fully committed to providing a safe environment to conduct business, in accordance with health and safety guidelines set out by local authorities. They assure that the exhibition will take place with strict adherence to social distancing, contactless transactions and hygiene protocols.
And for very good reason, as the world has been turned upside down since the last running of Gulfood in February of 2020, when the show went on as planned in the early days of the spread of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) from China, which by then had officially been linked to the deaths of at least 1,381 people and forced the postponement and cancellations of major exhibitions in the PRC – among them the 30th East China Fair in Shanghai and the Canton Fair in Guangzhou. Over the past year hundreds of additional trade shows have been cancelled, as the Covid-19 death toll has now surpassed 2.42 million globally and infections have topped 109 million.
Meanwhile, the food sector has continued to adjust ways of doing business. Many operators have been forced to deal with government-imposed lockdowns meant to slow and ultimately stop viral infections. As restaurants have been closed or forced to run at greatly reduced capacity and hours, retail food sales have boomed. And while virtual trade shows and conference continue to be the “new normal,” such is not the case in Dubai.
“There’s no better time and place to accelerate your re-connection with the global food and business community,” proclaims a notice at the Gulfood website. “The year’s first live, in-person food and beverage sourcing event features 20 halls packed with diverse products from 85 country pavilions. There will be limitless opportunities to network with global heads and Michelin-starred chefs face-to-face, in the safest environment to do business.”
As usual, Belgian companies specializing in frozen potato, vegetable and fruit products will be well represented at Gulfood, among them Lutosa, Crops, Agristo, Mydibel and Pomuni.
Other frozen food producers and suppliers from around the world on the scene will be: 11er Nahrungsmittel GmbH of Austria; the Al-Kabeer Group and Freshly Frozen Foods Factory of the UAE; the Faragalla Group and Frosty Food of Egypt; Kerevitas Gida of Turkey; Rayban Frozen Foods and the Allana Group of India; Dawn Frozen Foods Co. of Pakistan; Evian Foods of France; Nowaco of Denmark; and Kontos Foods of the USA.
The venue is first convention and exhibition center in the Middle East to be certified with the Bureau Veritas Safeguard seal of approval, which attests to its compliance with the highest hygiene standard. Bureau Veritas, a world leader in testing, inspection and certification services, has developed detailed checklists with global health, safety and hygiene specialists to ensure that safe procedures are in place for the resumption of business operations in line with local and International regulations, as well as recognized best practices.
Below is a detailed description of measure that will in place at the Dubai World Trade Center during the duration of Gulfood to ensure safety.
• Wearing of masks at all times.
• Keep 2 meters social distancing guideline.
• Disinfection protocols are followed in all public areas.
• Buffet allowed if 2 meters social distancing guideline is followed and only if served by wait staff or served to guests at tables (no self-service allowed).
• Sanitizers readily available at multiple locations.
• Counters, seats and tables are disinfected after every use.
• Prayer rooms are opened following federal guidelines and directions.
• Isolation rooms are set up at the venue for suspected cases and managed in close coordination with the Dubai Health Authority (DHA).
• Exhibition halls shall close at 10pm for daily sterilization and sanitization.
• Real time monitoring of crowd density.
• Air change rate in the halls is 8 times per hour. Air extraction in the halls is pre-scheduled and all hall shutter doors will be kept open both before and after the event to assist with air circulation
• Exhibition hall capacity to apply the minimum 2 meters social distancing corresponding into 1 person per 4 square meters gross. Observe the maximum capacity guideline for each area.
• Aisles shall be minimum 2.5 meters width one way and 4cm for 2-way traffic.
• Contactless transactions are encouraged.
• Avoid shaking hands and exchanging business cards.
• Download “Gulfood Connexions” mobile app to network and access the full event program.
• If you are feeling unwell, please visit the clinic, located at Al Wasl Reception (beside Hall 5) Tel: +971 4 306 4040.