ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Presidential Affairs, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA), the 10th anniversary edition of SIAL Middle East, one of the largest food, beverage and hospitality events in the region, and the fifth edition of Abu Dhabi Date Palm Exhibition (ADDPE) concluded at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, facilitating a huge number of trade deals valued over AED 7.2bn during the three day event.
The event drew 23,000 industry experts and unique visitors with a growth rate of 13% from last year, from more than 50 countries.
The exhibition was the biggest edition since its launch in 2010 and the event was organised by Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) in cooperation with French “Comexposium” Group, one of the largest international exhibition and conference organisers, and in strategic partnership with ADAFSA under the theme “Defining Innovation in the Food, Beverage & Hospitality Industry”.
The total area of the exhibition increased to 22 thousand square metres, a growth rate of 22% compared with the area allocated for the previous edition, which amounted to 18 thousand square metres. The number of new exhibitors doubled to reach 16, in comparison to 8 last year. Number of participating countries have increased by 20%. Event Features increased by 67% to reach 15 features.
This year, SIAL ME witnessed an increase of 10% in the number of UAE exhibition companies that has reached to 76 exhibitor. Additionally, the total space of UAE pavilions increased to 3,373 square metres, which represent growth of 54% compared to last edition.
HE Saeed Al Bahri Salem Al Ameri, Director General of ADAFSA, said: “We are pleased with the high turnout witnessed by the exhibition in its tenth anniversary edition, and its success in attracting elite food companies, major food suppliers and investors from all over the world. This will contribute by strengthening our efforts to consolidate the food security system and will open up new and innovative food industries by providing the supply chain for this system with more opportunities and capabilities that ensure their sustainability and growth, to meet the growing demand for food in the region and the world and to keep pace with the great prosperity and booming industry that we are witnessing in the UAE, in the field of agriculture and food production. “
HE added: “the Authority’s participation resulted in the signing of a number of cooperation agreements related to food security, food safety and sustainable agricultural development and support for local farmers with a selection of vital national institutions and leading private sector companies in areas closely related to the elements of food and biological security and agriculture. This indicated that the participation included definition with the great achievements made by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in developing the agricultural and food sector, and presented the most important investment opportunities provided by the authority. In addition, a number of innovative projects were implemented by the authority in its fields of work with projects such as the development of honeybee strains, production of the fourth generation of Emirati queen bees, a project to produce quinoa, the use of satellite imagery in agricultural inspections and agricultural pest detection, and many of the pilot projects implemented by the Authority. “
HE Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, Managing Director and CEO of ADNEC Group said, “We are proud of the impressive turnout of visitors and exhibitors at the 10th anniversary of SIAL Middle East 2019. SIAL Middle East is one of the most anticipated industry events in the food and beverages industries and we are excited to have hosted key industry leaders again this year. This event provides the perfect platform for networking and interaction with representatives from major food producers and exporters from across the globe.”
Al Dhaheri further commented: “Hosting this event confirms the central role played by ADNEC in promoting business tourism in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, by supporting existing activities and enhancing their competitiveness and presence at the regional and international levels.”
Saeed Al Mansoori, Executive Director of IDEX, a subsidiary of ADNEC, said: “SIAL ME drew the participation of 1,143 exhibitors with an increase of 5% compared to last year’s edition, 31 country and specialised pavilions. The 10th edition was a milestone for a long way to come in hosting such huge successful events in the food and beverage sector in the future. It helped us in establishing the position of SIAL ME as an international platform that encourages innovation in the food, beverages, and hospitality industries, and provides valuable investment opportunities for organisations working in this sector, which represents the second largest economic industry in the UAE. “
SIAL Middle East 2019 featured a series of interactive sessions and competitions that attracted the participation and interest of leading local, regional and global experts. The attendees to the exhibition also gained insight into the latest food and beverage trends along with key topics related to food production and innovation plus the future of food.
The event witnessed the announcement of the winners of the SIAL Innovation contest which saw visitors viewing the most innovative food and beverage products from a large number of submissions at the SIAL Innovation area. The Gold Winner went to SC Honest Fields Europe SRL for their ‘Smoked Seaweed and Sea Salt Organic Puffs’ from Romania, the Silver Award went to Green Good Eco-Tech FZCO for their ‘Sandwich Pack’ from the UAE; an eco-friendly and 100% recyclable sandwich container made of wood-pulp and cellulose window. The Bronze Award went to Manuka Doctor Limited for their ‘Wild Flora Honey with Cacao’ from New Zealand consisting of a flower honey infused with cacao with no refined sugar, colours, preservatives, nuts, dairy or palm oil.
Another major highlight of the event was the UAE National Coffee Championships, that brought together the world’s best baristas to participate in the “National Latte Art Championship” and the “National Cezve/Ibrik Championship” endorsed by the Specialty Coffee Association. Winners for the National Cezve/Ibrik Championship were; First Place, Michaela Ruazol, Second Place, Mohammed Bin Bader and Third Place, Sydney Olouch. Winners for the National Latte Art Championship were; First Place, Nipendra Maharjan, Second Place, Rajbir Gurung and Third Place, Mondrick Alpas.
This year also saw the first Gahwa Championships which were organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, with the aim of reviving the heritage and traditions of Arabic coffee as an important aspect of the region’s culture. The Championships comprised five categories, all of which assessed participants’ knowledge and proficiency in terms of coffee heritage, selection and roasting of coffee beans, and processing and presentation of coffee to guests. Winners were announced at the end of an honouring ceremony.
Winner of the Sane’ Al Gahwa Light Roast category and for the Medium/Dark Roast category, triumphed over the competition, with both receiving the top prize of AED 125,000. The runner-up for Sane’ Al Gahwa Light Roast and for Medium/Dark Roast, both received AED 40,000.
The Gahwa Roaster Award also had both Light Roast and Medium/Dark Roast categories. Winner of the Gahwa Roaster Award – Light Roast and for the Gahwa Roaster Award – Medium/Dark Roast, received a prize of AED 25,000. In the fifth and final category, a prize of AED 20,000 was bestowed upon winner of the Gahwa Beverage Concept Award.
The 5th Abu Dhabi Date Palm Exhibition (ADDPE) ran alongside SIAL ME again this year and provided the biggest international platform for exhibitors to showcase their products and boost their presence in the global market. This year, the exhibition featured more than 87 exhibitors specialising in date palm fruit products from 12 countries and an impressive trade buyers from the Middle East region.
Supported by Ministry of Presidential Affairs (MOPA) and the Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation (KIDPA), ADDPE served as a dedicated platform for date trading, which is a key element of this year’s SIAL ME, the exclusive regional food, beverage and hospitality trade event and ideal platform to offer valuable investment opportunities for food, beverage and hospitality companies. The Date Fruit Auction returned for its 2nd edition, organised by KIDPA and supported by Liwa Dates Factory, showcasing a wider variety of dates from all over the Middle East region.
The Hosted Buyer Programme allowed a private dedicated space for hosted buyers to have business meetings with a selected batch of exhibitors that match their sourcing requirements in structured ‘Speed Networking Sessions’ along with giving a place for exhibitors to meet and discuss their requirements. This year saw 550 Hosted Buyers with an increase of 17% compared to last year, and the number of meetings conducted reached 5,000 meetings. Top countries included; Kuwait, Egypt, Korea, Azerbaijan, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and India with new countries this year including Korea, Vietnam, Paraguay, Turkmenistan, Spain, Romania and Bulgaria.
Features and activities that took place during SIAL ME included the La Cuisine competition, the region’s largest culinary competition and a favourite meeting point for catering professionals. Eleven Awards in total were given out for La Cuisine in a number in categories such as Practical Cookery, Young Pastry of the Year, Best Cuisiner and more.
Roaming Chefs, where senior executive chefs represented regional and international hotels and restaurants and took guided tours around the exhibition to discover new and innovative products. The Food Art event, which was hosted by the national culinary and confectionary arts training centre, aiming to develop and promote the national food market to reach the world.
In addition to the Food Forever Experience, hosted by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, in collaboration with the Food Forever Initiative, aiming to reduce food waste, promote sustainable consumption behaviours, diversify available foodstuffs within this industry, and turn the spotlight on locally sourced food produced in the UAE. The initiative highlighted the importance of food diversification as a contributor to ensuring resource sustainability and enhancing food security.
SIAL ME 2019 was co-organised between ADNEC Group, French “Comexposium” Group, in strategic partnership with the Abu Dhabi Agriculture & Food Safety Authority, as well as the Ministry of Presidential Affairs in collaboration with the Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation as Host Sponsors; Abu Dhabi Chamber, as Host Sponsor; Emirates Food Industries & National Feed and Flour Production & Marketing Co. LLC, as Platinum Sponsors; ZonesCorp, as Gold Sponsor; Royal Horizon, as Silver Sponsor; The Arab Authority for Agricultural Investment and Development as an investment partner, Lulu Group, as Retail Partner; Etihad Holidays, as Official Travel and Destination Management Partner, the Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau, as Cultural and Tourism partner, and Agthia, as Food & Beverage partner.