London Business School's Gulf Association experts say that the global food tech market is expected to grow over $250.43 billion by 2022.

Smart technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics are fast becoming the key driving force behind the transformation of the regional Food & Beverage (F&B) industry, according to London Business School’s (LBS) Gulf Association experts.

According to Research and Markets, the global food tech market is expected to grow over $250.43 billion by 2022, meaning that the F&B industry across the Middle East is presented with an array of opportunities to stay ahead of the global curve.

These views were shared by a gathering of regional industry experts at the ‘LBS Catalyzers Series’ event held in collaboration with its official government partner, Dubai SME, the agency of Dubai Economy mandated to develop the SME sector, at the Shangri-La Hotel in Dubai.

Saeed Matar Al Marri, Deputy CEO, Dubai SME said: “The scale and pace of smart technology adoption in the F&B industry augur well for regional economic and social development initiatives.”

Anis Harb, General Manager, Deliveroo, supported this view by adding: “Investing more into F&B technology is the next step. Using more robotics and AI are the technologies that F&B organizations should be thinking about in this space.”

According to Technavio, the global artificial intelligence market was valued at more than $179 billion in 2016, and this is expected to grow to around $968 billion by 2021.

This delivers major opportunities for the regional food and beverage industries to harness the capabilities of AI to improve their offerings, optimise operations and deliver a better customer experience.

“We utilize AI to receive and process data so that we can evaluate it resulting in a more tailored F&B experience for our customers,” commented Karl Naim, Co-Founder & CEO ChefXchange.

Chatbots are also key because when combined with AI they can deliver customer service at the fraction of the cost of traditional methods. Taking advantage of these technology trends allow F&B businesses to be able to convert customers.”

The Catalyzers Series is a collection of forums organized by London Business School’s Gulf Association and partners, which focuses on sectors that are at the heart of the region’s future.