Fair sheds light on Jordan’s food industry, leading players
Amman - Jordanians were treated to the goodies of the country’s food sector at the Jordan Food Fair, a leading trade show for the food industry designed to promote national products locally and globally.
The fair was organised by the International Promoters Company (IPCO), in cooperation with Amman Chamber of Industry, the Islamic International Arab Bank and Giant Industrial Group. Also involved were leading food industry players, importers, traders, manufacturers and owners of hypermarkets and shopping malls.
Approximately 65 food industry companies and 50 Jordanian food packaging factories took part in the exhibition July 5-10. This year’s Jordan Food Fair attracted more than 100,000 visitors, up from 75,000 in 2016.
“It is the largest food exhibition in Jordan displaying Jordanian-made and imported food products with special focus on the packaging sector, which is growing in a very positive way,” IPCO General Manager Raed Abu Saadeh said.
“We have noticed that this year people are interested in learning more about the quality of the local food products, which is encouraging and really great.”
Abu Saadeh said he hoped the fair would spread awareness about the high standards of locally produced food items, which were available at lower prices than imported goods.
“The show presents unique opportunities for traders and citizens to establish direct contact with food producers whether to do business or to have information on the products,” he said. “The food industry in Jordan is huge and very developed but it needs a lot of support through spreading awareness in local, regional and global events.
“The importance of the Jordanian food industry lies in the fact that it is employing thousands of Jordanians and contributes positively to the GDP and the economic situation of families,” he said.
Mohamad Khalil, representing Tahouneh Poultry, said: “We are happy to be part of the fair where people can check the quality of our products and the high level in breeding poultry and our careful packaging process as we care about health more than anything.”
Jordan’s food industry is valued at an estimated $5.5 billion with approximately 2,500 food facilities and factories. There have been nearly 4,500 new job opportunities created since 2015 in the food, beverage and tobacco industries in Jordan, a recent study by the National Centre for Human Resources Development stated.
“It was a very informative expo and I am happy to see that this vital sector is growing and developing to match the global products. For some time, we lacked confidence in the local products but recently we have faith that this sector has a future and will contribute positively to the economy,” said Ahmed Atieh, 38, a government employee.
“Of course, I care about the packaging and how it looks because I believe that the modern packaging sector has evolved rapidly and, if we want to take pride in our industry, we need also to develop the packaging, including the quality, colours and design,” he added.
Najah Jarbee, a housewife who said that a few years ago “only two or three Jordanian brands” were popular among consumers. “Today we can see that many companies had entered the market with new quality brands, which means that our food sector is developing but I think we still have an issue with the packaging, which is the first thing that attracts the eye,” she said.
However, a recent food scandal involving a famous poultry brand run by a local giant company shook the industry. The brand was suspended and several people arrested after 70 tonnes of expired poultry were discovered in their storage.
Supermarket owner Abdullah Fathi argued that some traders take advantage of Ramadan to make profits by stockpiling goods in warehouses to sell them at higher prices as demand sharply increases during the fasting month.
“I thank God that the authorities discovered the expired chicken before any damage could have happened,” Fathi said.
In 2016, the Jordan Food and Drug Administration (JFDA) closed and referred 501 foodstuff entities to court and suspended 158 establishments for a month, for uncleanliness, insect infestation and failing to meet storage and transportation conditions.