Israel Gulf Report
Israel's Eco Friend at Middle East Organic and Natural Products Expo Dubai
Updated: Dec 23, 2020
The Middle East Organic and Natural Products Expo Dubai opened at Dubai World Trade Center in mid-December and featured several Israeli exhibitors for the first time. Eliyahu McLean, a sales manager who attended the event for Eco Friend, described the excitement of being in Dubai and seeing the non-stop interest that visitors had for the Israeli products.
The Organic and Natural Products Expo Dubai in 2020 was unique because it was one of several expos that are happening toward the end of the year when the Covid-19 pandemic has caused many major events to be reduced or stopped altogether. Usually up to 7,000 come to this event, but McLean said about 1,000 people each day came to the event.
The gathering is described as "the Middle East’s sole business event that focuses on organic and natural products. It has been connecting suppliers with buyers for 17 years and is held under the patronage of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment UAE and supported by International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM)." It is supported by the UAE's Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. "My feeling was there were around 100 exhibitors, some globally and some local this year," McLean said. There were three Israeli booths, EcoFriend, Arugot Natural Organic Skincare which does organic creams and another company that does agriculture consultancy, he notes. There was also a Palestinian company called Pal Herbs from the Gulf that deals in Palestinian herbs.
"It was fascinating that there is such a keen interest in organic products and the industry and people realize it is a growing industry and they see themselves as a hub of global trade," says McLean. "Our booth Eco Friend, is a line of ecological cleaning products; a non-toxic plant-based alternative and they have been around in Israel since 2002 in various forms. The inventor’s name Eyal Alaluf and they have a factory in Baqa al-Garbiya and they produce laundry, dishwashing, hand washing, floor soap, non-toxic bleach, window, floor and some 22 products."
The line of products received a large amount of enthusiasm from people in Dubai. They encountered people from all over the world as well. Many Indian businessmen, some who work locally and are residents of the UAE, attended. Visitors expressed interest in the line of products and the booth received a huge level of interest in buying the products and sampling them with desire by people to distribute them to the wider GCC and Asia. "We had a non-stop stream of people, including Indians, Filipinos, Americans living there and one of the sheikhs of one of the leading families came by and his spokesperson said he would like to have it cleaning the royal house," says McLean. The UAE is increasingly ecologically conscious and seeking to be less harmful to the environment. These unique Israeli innovative products mesh well with this desire to have a smaller ecological footprint. "There is a real need for this. We were the only one in that field in the whole expo. They put us next to Arugot, the two established Israeli companies." Despite the suitcases of samples that Eco Friend brought the level of interest was so high that people wanted to take all the samples the company had on display.
The expo ran from December 15 to 17. It came after GITEX, which also a saw a huge inaugural Israeli presence. Reports say that exhibitors at the organic expo this year came from "10 countries, including a debut from Israel. Other top organic product producing countries with a presence include the USA, Russia, Croatia and Macedonia."
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