Expo 2020 Dubai awards first F&B licenses

Expo 2020 Dubai awards first F&B licenses
Expo 2020 website.
Published: 11 December 2017 - 4:01 a.m.
By: Sarakshi Rai

Expo 2020 Dubai has awarded its first food and beverage licenses to five UAE-based companies that specialise in coffee, dates and chocolates.

Expo 2020 Dubai estimates that visitors attending Expo from October 20, 2020 to April 10, 2021 will generate approximately AED2bn in food and beverage sales onsite. 

It is also estimated that around 85,000 meals are expected to be served per hour during the Expo, across 30,000sq metres of front-of-house space for F&B.

In addition to this, an estimated 5mn meals will be needed to keep the event's workforce fed during the six months of its running.

Also, an influx of 25mn Expo visitors is expected to drive tourism revenues of $44bn in 2020.

According to Dr Hayat Shamshuddin, the UAE’s special advisor for culture, food will play a “very important” role in the event.

"This is the first World Expo to be held in the region, and we want our licensed products and merchandise to show the culture and heritage of Dubai and the UAE. We’ve been working with UAE-based companies to identify products that have been made in the emirate, which we can showcased at the event," Shamshuddin added.

In February, HotelierMiddleEast.com had reported that Expo 2020 Dubai is seeking UAE-based SMEs to produce authentic Emirati food products as it opens up tenders for food and beverage licences for the landmark event.

“We want to work with producers to create a range of products that authentically reflect our heritage and the country's multinational diversity,” Bureau Expo 2020 Dubai executive director Najeeb Al Ali said.

In total, Expo 2020 are looking to sign up around 70 licensees, covering 40 separate categories and 5,000 types of product.

The five companies are Patchi and Mirzam-Kakaw for chocolate, Bateel and Al Barakah for dates and Karam Foods for coffee.


Patchi has a well-established network of high end retail boutiques with 30 branches across the UAE and some 145 outlets in 23 countries. Made in the UAE with packaging designed and sourced from Lebanon, they are currently building the biggest chocolate factory in the Middle East that is expected to start operations next year with an expected capacity of 10,000 kg a day. This will also be the first luxury chocolate brand in the UAE to secure halal certification from the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ESMA).

They will create a selection of Expo 2020 gift boxed chocolates, including unique Expo 2020 flavours; they will also address seasonal products and Mascot ranges for children, all to be sold via their own retail and corporate gifting network as well as Expo 2020 stores.

Mirzam- Kakaw 

Mirzam- Kakaw is a locally owned business who manufacture and retail hand crafted artisan chocolate. With their flavours inspired by the maritime spice routes using a handmade process they turn ethically sourced ‘beans to bars’ in their factory in Al Quoz. Packaging design is commissioned to local artists to create a distinct range of products that are regionally influenced and provide a unique souvenir to visitors to Dubai. They will work with the Expo brand to create three flavour bars that will be sold through different formats, via their own retail network, Expo 2020 stores and corporate gifting.


Bateel has a strong market presence in over 15 countries with their boutiques and cafes. They have created the market for luxury gourmet dates and date confectionery and offer over 20 date varieties from their groves in Al Ghat, Saudi Arabia. They have proposed dates, stuffed dates and chocolates to be sold in a selection Expo 2020 gift boxes, with varying sizes and formats over mid to high price points. These products will be sold through their own retail network and Expo 2020 stores.

Al Barakah Dates 

Al Barakah currently have the largest private owned date factory in the Middle East specializing in dates, date paste and syrup supplying to a range of clientele; mainly B2B, supplying ingredients in bulk for food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. They will work with Expo 2020 to create date bars made from UAE dates to be sold through their own distribution networks and Expo 2020 stores.  

Karam Foods

A locally owned business Karam Foods have the largest coffee plant in the MENA region, based in Al Quoz in Dubai, specialising in coffee; they offer a number of options including Turkish and Arabic blends which they have proposed for Expo 2020. They will work with Expo 2020 to create a selection of coffee blends including an exclusive Expo 2020 blend in a variety of formats to appeal to a variety of customers. They have proposed to sell these blends via their own retail network, hospitality and Expo 2020 stores.


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