The seventh edition of annual food, drink and hospitality trade show, SIAL Middle East exhibition, saw record visitor numbers and deals worth AED3.8 billion confirmed.
The show took place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) on 5 – 7 December.
Thamer Al Qasemi, Chairman of the organising committee for SIAL 2016 said: “SIAL has witnessed unprecedented growth during the last seven years. In 2010 we had eight national pavilions, 7,200 visitors and floor space of 4426m2.
“Now, visitors have grown to over 22,000, we have 30 national pavilions and floor space has more than trebled to 14,220m2, underscoring the appetite and strategic importance of the event. Show content is evolving to provide a broad overview of food trends and innovation and further highlighting the importance of the event.”
Major-General Staff Pilot Ishaq Al Balushi, head of the Supply Department of the General Command of the Armed Forces signed contracts worth AED763 million with the Army Officers Club, Abu Dhabi National Hotel Company Middle East, Al Wasita for Catering, Emirates Hospitality Centre, Kelvin catering services, Army Forces Coop Association and FOODCO.
Meanwhile, Jenaan Investments signed an MOU with the Sudanese Finance Ministry to establish the biggest date palm farm in the world, with a total of 221 million trees to be planted in Sudan over a 13-year period.
Abu Dhabi Health Authority signed a contract with Etihad to introduce healthier, Weqaya-approved meal options to its staff restaurants.
The Weqaya logo is the official mark of healthy eating in Abu Dhabi and is only permitted on foods and in food outlets that meet strict requirements on preparation and ingredients.
In addition to some major business deals, SIAL Middle East also hosted events and competitions on the show floor, with winners from across the world taking home accolades.
Northern Irish food producer Mash Direct won the Innovation World Champions for its Crispy Vegetable Bakes. The competition received more than 150 entries.
The Silver Award was presented to Al Ain Diary for its Breakfast Milk, while Icelandic food company, Complete Global International Apoly Trade., was awarded the Bronze prize for its Vikingur food supplement.
Rounding out the show floor events, and organised by the Emirates Culinary Guild of Abu Dhabi, in collaboration with the World Association of Chefs’ Societies, La Cuisine featured over 1000 professional chefs competing in a variety of culinary competitions.
These included the Alen Thong Golden Coffee Pot, Young Chefs Challenge, launched in memory of one of the Emirates Culinary Guild’s founding fathers, which was awarded to the Singapore team at the La Cuisine prize giving ceremony at the Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat al Beri, Abu Dhabi on Wednesday 7 December.
Commenting on SIAL’s expanding role in the region’s food and beverage industry, Fadi Saad, SIAL managing director, SIAL Middle East, said: “Innovation in the food industry is not only trending around the globe, it is accelerating thanks to the digital environment we all live in and it is an aspect that we have been keen to showcase.”
SIAL is organised in cooperation with Strategic Partner, Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority and supported by Abu Dhabi Chamber as Host Sponsor and in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Food Festival.
Al Dahra Agriculture is headline sponsor with Jenaan Investments the Diamond Sponsor and Emirates Food Industries Gold Sponsor.
Emirates International Group for Food and Agriculture and Al Rawabi are Silver Sponsors; Mawasim and Agthia are Bronze Sponsors; LuLu is the official Retail Partner; Etihad Airways is the Official Airline; and Emirates Culinary Guild and World Association of Chefs are Culinary Partners.
SIAL Middle East is part of SIAL Group, the world’s largest network of professional B2B food exhibitions which include SIAL Paris, SIAL China, SIAL Canada, SIAL ASEAN Manila and SIAL InterFOOD Jakarta.
The event was held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority and inaugurated by HE Sheikh Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan Head of the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Social Development.