Remember those old ring-pulls for canned drinks, the ones that pulled completely off the can to leave a sharp piece of metal loose in your hand?
I have vivid memories of them littering the side of the streets as a child in Dublin – sometimes even tarmacked into road surfaces.
If you are a millennial, there’s every chance you won’t remember them – unless, of course, you had experience of somewhere that used them until very recently – such as the Middle East.
You won’t find them here now, though.
In recent years, older manufacturing technologies in the Middle East have been replaced with more modern, globally recognisable ones. But the Middle East is not just catching up when it comes to food and beverage (F&B) manufacturing, it’s storming ahead.
I’ve blogged before about the region’s diversification plans and how, perhaps surprisingly for some, everything from wind turbines to aircraft wing manufacture has a new home in the Middle East.
But it’s the food and beverage market that perhaps offers the biggest insight to the rapid cultural and consumer changes happening here, and how governments are facilitating development on a scale the rest of the world cannot ignore.
Many of the biggest household brands in food and beverage are seizing the opportunity to open greenfield manufacturing facilities in the Middle East, and with them, to use the very latest in IIoT technologies to create the most productive, efficient and sustainable manufacturing facilities in the world.
The opportunity here is huge. At around 200 million people, the region is similar in size to Europe, and increasingly, it has similar tastes, with a shift towards healthy living and health food products.
While big household-name brands are seeking to exploit this new market, home-grown brands are also gaining ground, and the march towards local food supply security is welcomed and encouraged at a strategic level, meaning that a conducive regulatory environment has been implemented.
The Middle East has set its sights on moving from old ring pulls to world-leading food and beverage manufacturing inside a generation, and it is well on course.
For us at Rockwell Automation, it means that the region is an incredibly exciting place to do business. Many of the international brands that we work with at a strategic global level are making use of the latest Connected Enterprise strategies initiated by Rockwell Automation in their expansions into the region.
That means that we’re rapidly moving from a focus on servicing the region’s traditional heavy industries to offering the full complement of our automation support.
This change is exemplified by the Middle East Manufacturing Forum that we are hosting, which is the first food and beverage focused conference in the region.
We’ll be welcoming our top business leaders and spokespersons for the EMEA region to share their expertise at The Address Dubai Mall Hotel in Dubai on October 30th. The lineup will cover the latest approaches to the food and beverage market and will also be a great opportunity for networking with thought leaders and solutions providers both from Rockwell Automation and our friends and partners, including Cisco and OSI Soft.
I hope to see you there!
Find out more about the event and sign up for this unique networking and knowledge building opportunity.