While there has been an increase in the number of young emirati entrepreneurs opening their own restaurants and food concept stores across the UAE, there is still a gap that needs to be filled when it comes to them taking a more active role across various verticals in the country’s F&B industry, experts say.
Saleh Abdullah Lootah, chairman of the Food and Beverage Manufacturing Business Group (FBMG), at an event on Thursday said that there was a comparative shortage in locals opting to take up different roles in the UAE’s F&B industry such as manufacturing, packaging, and marketing.
As a means of addressing the issue, he highlighted the efforts of the group to encourage younger Emiratis by reaching out to them early in their education and offering them opportunities to get a hands on experience working in the different verticals in the industry.
Lootah also announced that the group is working on its ‘Annual UAE Food Industry Report’, which seeks to catalyse the growth of the F&B manufacturing industry in the UAE, and is set to be released in the upcoming Gulfood Manufacturing exhibition in November 2017. Conducted in partnership with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Gulfood Manufacturing, the report will cover several key aspects and realities of the F&B manufacturing sector.
“We, at the Food and Beverage Manufacturing Business Group, have made it our mission to develop the F&B sector in the UAE, not only to place it on par with its international counterparts, but to also turn the Emirates into an F&B manufacturing hub for the entire region,” he said.
“By publishing the Annual UAE Food Industry Report, we will be playing our part in helping stakeholders and decision makers in the sector make sound decisions grounded in accurate, verifiable data. The study mines data from every source deemed relevant to the F&B manufacturing sector, organises it, and draws critical conclusions from it.” Furthermore, Lootah explained that various entities had previously released valuable data and insight on the country’s F&B sector, but that they had been working independently. It was important, he said, to create a much needed synergy between various players and stakeholders in the region, and that this was one of the aims of the upcoming report.
In the interest of full transparency, the gathered data will be made available on the dedicated F&B data platform, created as part of the FLW Protocol implementation process in the UAE, heralded by the FBMG itself. This will promote the Emirates as a regional hub for the food manufacturing and processing sector.