KANSAS CITY — Being transcontinental makes the Middle East a good hub for international conferences and expositions. And the region has taken advantage of this through a variety of baking- and snack-related events.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) holds at least three major expositions every year: Gulfood has eight show sectors from ingredients to products — including one on grain foods — and welcomes more than 100,000 attendees from approximately 200 countries; SIAL Middle East covers the innovation in the food and beverage industries; and yummex Middle East is a trade fair for sweets, confectionery and snack professionals.

When it comes to interest in innovation and sharing new ideas, the UAE seems to be more open than other countries in the Middle East, said Hamza Nihal, head of business development and research departments, OZCO Group Cos. But it’s not the only country pushing those ideas forward in the industry.

Turkey hosts a variety of expositions in Istanbul. IDMA happens every two years and includes innovations and technological developments pertaining to flour, rice, corn, pulses, pasta and biscuits. Ibaktech is specific to bakery, pastry, ice cream and chocolate equipment and products. Foteg Istanbul not only includes equipment for food items, but it also showcases packaging technologies.

Saudi Arabia puts its best foot forward as well with industry-specific events such as Saudi International Bakery and Pastry Expo and more broad topic fairs such as Foodex Saudi for all food and beverage companies.

Other countries provide networking and informational opportunities. Iran Bakery and Confectionery hosted more than 40,000 attendees this year and 865 exhibitors and incorporated pavilions for China, Germany, India, Italy and Turkey. In Northern Africa, Morocco hosts the Grain and Milling Expo, while Egypt brings attendees to Food Africa.

These Middle Eastern fairs and expositions bring together people and companies from all over the world to learn about a variety of equipment and products influenced by Asian, European and African trends.

This article is an excerpt from the September 2019 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on the Middle East, click here.