The 8th edition of SIAL Middle East has seen a growth of 28% year-on-year for visitor numbers, with the event organisers revealing that exhibitors have netted deals worth AED3.3 billion.
Joanne Cook, Managing Director for SIAL Middle East said: "With 20,000 registered visitors through our doors in the first two days of the exhibition, we take this as an encouraging sign that local and international government bodies, companies and investors have increased interests in the future of the food, beverage and hospitality in the UAE."
At the Middle East Food Forum, the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) delivered a key session on the importance of their role as the auditing body for the safety, security and quality of food for outlets taking part in their Weqaya programme.
Thamer Al Qasimi, Chairman of the SIAL Middle East Organising Committee said: "The Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) supervises food establishments to ensure compliance with health requirements and safe food practices, ensuring public access to safe food and avoiding foodborne diseases.
"We monitor food safety while verifying the conformity of food products to standard specifications which are related to food safety or food quality. The more we partner with governmental organizations to work on this project the stronger it will be.
"Changing the concepts of foods and the customer's preferences will drive the industry to work towards change by providing healthier food options."
In line with the initiative launched by ADFCA during the exhibition and under the framework of the 'Year of Giving', Jenaan provided close to one million palm trees to the UAE Red Crescent and signed an agreement with the Abu Dhabi Farmers' Services Centre which will see agricultural investment company set up the infrastructure for raising, rearing and packaging organic free-range chickens within the UAE.
Louis Smit, CEO – Business Planning & Development Sector for Jenaan said: "The poultry project that we set up is something unique for the UAE and will see farmers grow free-range chickens that they can sell year-round.
"What we will do from Jenaan's perspective is supply farmers with day-old chickens, the feed and technical and professional services. The farmers will then produce and grow the chickens and once they are ready for the market, we will buy them back from the farmer at a margin. This means Jenaan will effectively finance the project giving farmers a great incentive to get involved.
"The infrastructure will ensure the quality of the reared free-range chickens, and will include a production house with a large area where they can free-roam, which is a more humane way of raising poultry compared to your normal broilers.
"The chickens reared in these farms will provide quality meat and a premium product for the farmers to sell, and means less product for the UAE to import, greatly decreasing logistical costs and helping provide sustainable farming solutions for the country."
Celebrating innovation as part of the DNA of SIAL events worldwide, the SIAL Innovation Area showcased and awarded some of the world's most innovative products, guaranteeing an experience for attendees to learn about upcoming trends in the food and beverage sector.
Out of the 150 entries and 12 finalists for the awards, John Woods LTD took home the gold honours for their organic Sprouted Flaxseed products. John Woods, Director for John Woods LTD said: "We have been a family business for years now and we moved into healthy foods about 10 years ago now selling a range of nuts and fruits and berries.
For the Bronze award, UAE's Al Rabiah Trading Company nabbed the prize for its almond milk, walnut milk and pistachio milk products.
"However, we decided there was one step further we could go and that was to sprout seeds: flax seeds. There's no doubt that it is a much more nourishing product and beneficial for the digestive system and we believed this was something that needed to be on the market."
Judged by XTC World Innovation, SIAL Innovation provided exhibitors with the opportunity to showcase new innovative products to thousands of attendees. Part of the global programme, the award is only for newly introduced food and beverage products, and the winning product will be displayed at all SIAL events worldwide.
SIAL Middle East ran with support from Host Sponsor: Abu Dhabi Chamber, Diamond Sponsor: Jenaan Investments, Silver Sponsors: Al Rawafed and Abu Dhabi Farmers' Services Centre, Bronze Sponsor: Mai Dubai and The Deep Seafood Company, and Halal Certification Sponsor: Emirates Authority for Standardization & Metrology, and will return from 10-12 December 2018.