SIAL Middle East 2016, a professional trade exhibition for the food, beverage and hospitality industries, returns to Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from 5-7 December 2016.
Global food innovation, food security and the latest industry trends will headline the calendar of events at the 7th edition, with a new series of conference sessions covering topics such as organic food, own label opportunities, food fraud, city farms, GM food issues, halal and wastage.
Thamer Al Qasemi, chairman of the organising committee of SIAL Middle East 2016 commented: “Food imports into the Middle East are expected to reach US$35.2 billion by 2020 according to a report from BMI, and the F&B sector is vitally important to the region on many fronts. Not only do we depend on imported goods on a daily basis but, as consumer tastes and awareness develop, we are seeing a shift in product demand and expectations.
“Last year saw record numbers visiting the show; this year some 22,000 senior decision makers from major food companies, representatives from F&B outlets and hotels, food retailers, government officials, distributors, importers and exporters, and hosted VIP buyers are expected to attend the event.”
New this year is the Alen Thong Golden Coffee Pot Young Chefs Challenge, part of the La Cuisine culinary showcase, which attracted more than 650 competing chefs in 2015.
The challenge offers young local chefs the opportunity to share their gastronomic talents in a live competition environment.
Returning for a second year is the Abu Dhabi Food Security Roundtable series, which will see government officials, CEOs and industry experts debate ways of ensuring the availability of affordable, sustainable and nutritious food for the region.
Another annual feature, the SIAL Innovation Area, showcases new products, providing an opportunity for attendees to learn about upcoming sector trends, as well as playing host to the SIAL Innovation World Champions from around the world.
The World Tour exhibit will return with displays by top food journalists from around the world highlighting the latest food trends and related statistics, in addition to the Regional Barista & Latte Art Championships.
The 35th edition of The Mercurys, an awards ceremony for travel catering will take place during SIAL on 5 December, with accolades covering the best airline meals, service concept, food products, beverages and equipment.
The event is organised in cooperation with Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, and supported by Abu Dhabi Chamber as Host sponsor, Emirates Business Group and Al Rawabi as Silver Sponsors, Lulu as Retail Partner, Etihad Airways as Official Airline; Emirates Culinary Guild and World Association of Chefs, as Culinary Partners.
Joanne Cook, managing director, SIAL Middle East commented: “In 2015 we welcomed in excess of 926 innovative exhibitors and more than 15,000 passionate trade professionals for three days of business, networking and knowledge sharing. We are confident that this year will represent the next phase of growth and development for the region’s F&B industry.”