‘Walnut’ argue with Chile’s figures released at the kickoff to Gulfood 2019, as the SA agricultural powerhouse revealed exports to the region, from January to November 2018, were valued at US$425,349,135 million, which is a 19% increase compared to the same period in 2017.

As an agriculturally-focused country, Chile has around 20 products that are among the most exported globally, these include fresh grapes and blueberries, salmon fillets, dried plums, nuts and dried apples.

During the period January – November 2018, Chilean exports of nuts to the world exceeded $421 million. In the same period, Chilean shipments of walnuts to the Middle East topped $50 million, with the UAE accounting for $26 million, followed by Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, equaling the revenue generated for the entire year in 2017.

The South American country – whose nuts are renowned for their wide range of health benefits, from supporting weight control to decreasing blood pressure and inflammation due to the high antioxidants and omega-3 essential fatty acids – will be looking to further build on trade links at the 24th edition of Gulfood 2019 – February 17-21 at Dubai World Trade Centre.

“Thanks to the quality, flavour and yield of our produce and the evolving tastes of Middle East residents, tourist and business visitors, Chilean nut exporters are keen to explore opportunities in the region and introduce even more variation to restaurants and supermarkets.

“The region is fast becoming a hotbed for foodies eager to experience the latest trends on the global culinary scene, combined with a large percentage of the population, particularly in Dubai, looking at healthier equivalents, providing good reason for many nut experts from Chile to refocus their regional expansion plans in the Middle East,” said the Trade Commissioner of Chile in Dubai, Carlos Salas.

A 27-strong delegation of Chilean exporters will be attending the week-long gastronomic showcase, up seven from 2018, in a bid to increase the US$20 million deals completed at last year’s show.