F&B exhibitions like MIFB 2015 help the Malaysian food industry grow by exposing our local food manufacturers to international markets.
It’s all systems go for the 16th Malaysian International Food & Beverage Trade Fair 2015 (MIFB 2015), which will be held from the 11th to 13th June at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
“There will be 300 exhibitors from 45 countries, 12 group pavilions and we are targeting more than 30,000 visitors,” says Mr. Lim Cha Cheng, Director, Sphere Exhibits Malaysia Sdn Bhd, the main organiser of the exhibition. MIFB is the largest such exhibition in Malaysia and one of the top 10 F&B exhibitions in the world, he informs. “This trade fair can be a main source of reference in the dissemination of information on the agro-food sector.”
The average lay person takes the F&B industry for granted. What they don’t know is that the global food and beverage industry is growing at 3.5% a year and is expected to be worth more than USD7 trillion. The Malaysian Government understands the potential of the F&B industry and is keen to see it play a bigger role in the country’s economy. It is no coincidence that the Government has identified agriculture as the country’s third key engine of economic growth.
“Malaysia has lots of land and natural produce. We produce lots of food products. However, we have not turned our cottage industries in the F&B sector into a huge manufacturing sector. In order to do so, we need to have the latest technology in food manufacturing so that we can produce more attractive food products in terms of packaging and nutritional value,” explains Lim (pic).
“We already have one advantage: Our halal branding is one of the most respected in the world. The global market for halal products is estimated to be around USD580 billion a year. If our F&B industry can become one of the dominant exporters in this segment, imagine its impact on our economy!
“MIFB brings many players such as manufacturers, bakers, importers, exporters, caterers, butchers, restaurateurs, wholesalers, retailers, grocers and many more onto the same platform. You can learn about the future of the F&B industry in the world! It is also a great place to find the latest technology in food production and packaging,” said Lim.
To help local food manufacturers generate new business opportunities especially on a global scale, a special feature has been added to the MIFB which are the Business Matching Sessions. “Business Matching Sessions are where existing exhibitors are given help in sourcing new buyers, identify potential business partners and expand their business to an international level by connecting them to the right business partners locally and globally,” says Lim. There has been very encouraging response to the Business Matching Sessions. So far, 122 businesses have been matched via this system.
One of the highlights of the exhibition is the 1st International Seafood Safety & Trade Conference which is being held in conjunction with the exhibition. This conference organised in collaboration with INFOFISH and Lembaga Kemajuan Ikan Malaysia (LKIM). The emphasis of this conference will be on seafood quality and safety with a closer look on trade, health and environmental issues as well as product development and innovation.
“This International Seafood Safety & Trade Conference is timely,” says Lim. He points out that Malaysia is the largest consumer of seafood in Southeast Asia. “Malaysia is aiming to become one of the major seafood exporting countries in the region with products that are on par with international standards. According to Government figures, our exports of fish-processing products exceed USD600 million per year. This figure can be increased.”
The huge demand on seafood and fisheries in the local market has created various business opportunities to the stakeholders in the local aquaculture industry. “There is tremendous potential in the seafood industry. Fish and fish products are the most traded commodities in the international and domestic market,” continues Lim.
“We need to train people in this industry and it’s great that the Government wants to encourage more youths to participate in the agro-based industry via its Entrepreneur Development Programme under the Agro-Based Industry Development Projects. The Ministry of Agriculture has made available around RM10 million in the form of training, incentives, soft loans and in-kind contribution grants to develop young entrepreneurs. The fishing industry is one such agro-based industry that the Government would like to see grow.”
Other highlights at MIFB 2015 are segments devoted to coffee and halal products. The rise of the coffee culture among urban Malaysians over the last 20 years is one of the characteristic trends of popular urban culture. No neighbourhood can be considered trendy without the ubiquitous presence of Starbucks, Coffee Bean and/or San Francisco. In recent years, there has been a growing market for premium coffee. Coffee lovers will be glad to know that exhibitors from the local and international coffee industries will be showcasing local, premium and gourmet coffee at MIFB 2015.
No F&B exhibition these days is complete without a segment devoted to halal products. According to MIDA (Malaysian Investment Development Authority), the halal food industry’s potential value is estimated to be anywhere between USD600 billion to USD2.1 trillion. The halal segment caters to local and international exhibitors and buyers who wish to expand their businesses into the halal market.
“F&B exhibitions like MIFB 2015 help the local food industry grow by exposing our local food manufacturers to international markets and vice versa. It’s a huge market out there and our Malaysian food manufacturers must make use of this opportunity to expand their markets,” says Lim.
MIFB 2015 is open to trade only from the 11th to 12th June. It is open to the public on the 13th. The exhibition is open from 10.30am to 5pm daily.