Northern Ireland exported over £22M of food and drink to the GCC in 2022, a 16% year-on-year increase from 2021. The figures demonstrate how Northern Ireland’s global reputation for premium produce, coupled with best-in-class food traceability and food security, makes the country’s produce a firm favourite for consumers and restaurateurs across the region.
The release of the figures comes as Northern Ireland prepares to exhibit at Gulfood 2023, the largest annual food and beverage sourcing event. The country’s 16th consecutive participation at the trade show will see a range of its food and drink companies take part in the exhibition, which runs from 20 – 24 February at Dubai World Trade Centre.
The businesses ranging from seafood, cereal, dairy and private-label bakery products through to food tech solutions, will showcase the world-class Food and Drink offering from Northern Ireland. The region’s progressive agri-food sector and enterprising producers have been key to its successful export growth to the GCC and over 70 countries worldwide, with an industry worth £5.4 billion to the economy.
According to the latest statistics, the total export of goods from Northern Ireland to the GCC countries is £137M, of which 16% of these exports are from food and drink sector; the beverage category makes up the largest proportion of exports at £4.6M, followed by Cereal products with £2.9M, and Dairy products with £2M.
Commenting on Northern Ireland companies’ attendance at Gulfood this year, Scott Hanna, Senior Business Development Manager at Invest Northern Ireland – UAE, Oman, and Bahrain, said: “The GCC offers huge potential for world-famous Northern Ireland food and drink. With some of the world’s top dining experiences present in the region, it remains a core market for dairy, seafood, beverages and raw ingredients targeting both the high-end retail and food service sectors.”
He added: “The UAE has established itself as a global destination for fine dining, and we are seeing particular success for our food and drink companies with regional consumers seeking out more of our best-loved premium Northern Ireland brands. All of this is supported by the export figures, which show that the GCC in general and the UAE specifically have become key markets for Northern Ireland companies.”
Invest Northern Ireland (Invest NI), the regional economic development body for Northern Ireland, is committed to working collaboratively with key partners in the food and drink industry to help Northern Ireland companies trade more effectively in the region. By doing so, the entity supports businesses to increase turnover, fuel greater prosperity, and realise their ambitious growth plans.
Invest NI’s stand will be located in Sheikh Saeed Hall 1, Stand S1-B34 at Gulfood 2023 taking place in the World Trade Centre, Dubai from February 20 – 24.