The 19th edition of the annual Gulfood fair and exhibition started here in Dubai on Sunday and puts a special focus on Islamic-compliant or halal nutrition and food security.
This year's Gulfood will last five days in the Dubai world trade center with 4,500 participating companies, 120 national pavilions from 10 countries and expected 80,000 visitors from 152 countries.
During the fair, more than 450 of the world's leading halal manufacturers present their latest food and beverages which were produced in line with Islamic law or Sharia.
According to the organizers, in 2010 the six member states of the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) imported 27.5 million tons of food, doubling the amount they produced. Economists forecast that the GCC food imports will hit 53.1 billion U.S. dollars by 2020.
Because Islam forbids the consumption of pork meat, alcohol and animal lipids or traces of blood, food producers from around the world have launched halal food products in order to tap the fast growing food market in countries with Muslim population.
Food security is also topped the agenda of the fair, as the Gulf Arab states have to import 90 percent of their annual food needs to satisfy their meat and wheat requirements due to a lack of agricultural country.