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Strong Interest in U.S. Beef at Gulfood in Dubai

Published: Mar 07, 2023

Buyers and suppliers converged recently in Dubai, UAE, for one of the world’s largest food trade shows. While the majority of the show’s attendees were from the Middle East, Gulfood also attracted thousands of prospective buyers from Africa and Asia.

“This was Gulfood’s second year back from COVID but attendance wasn’t just back to normal, it was as busy as I’ve ever seen it,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “Attendance over five days was estimated to be about 100,000 and when the final totals are in, it could be an all-time record.”

A wide range of U.S. beef products was promoted at Gulfood, with some markets focused on center-of-the-plate cuts for foodservice clientele, while others are seeking beef variety meat items. In some countries in the Middle East and Africa, initial sales of beef variety meat often lead to expanded demand for beef muscle cuts.

“This region is critical for beef variety meats which presents opportunities to talk with buyers about expanding that portfolio into muscle cuts,” says Halstrom, who attended the show along with Assistant Vice President of Member Services Tammy Connolly and USMEF representatives from the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

“We’re not attempting to appeal to every buyer at this show but there is great potential for grain-fed U.S. beef in foodservice in several markets in this region. Post-COVID, foodservice is booming in some Middle Eastern markets and high-quality U.S. beef is perfectly positioned to meet this demand,” Halstrom adds.

U.S. suppliers and USMEF representatives from the Middle East, Africa and Europe meet with potential customers. Supply chain issues are a common point of discussion for traders in the Middle East and Africa.

USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom discussed regional trade barriers for U.S. red meat with Daniel Whitley, administrator of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, and FAS staff from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and U.A.E.