The Chairman of the SIAL Middle East 2018 Organising Committee, Eng. Thamer Rashid Al Qasemi, has announced that SIAL has attracted 28.324 visitors and experts specialized in food, beverage and hospitality from 94 countries. He added that the 9th edition has resulted in concluding trade deals between exhibitors, agents and leading companies in food and hospitality industry worth AED 7.08 billion. During the three-day exhibition that drew the participation of 1.089 exhibitors from 45 countries, 138 deals were made.
"The patronage of HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA), contributed to firmly establish SIAL's regional and international position as one of the most important economic activities promoting food economy locally and globally. The exhibition also seeks to reduce the supply-demand gap by providing innovative and diverse alternatives meet consumer needs and cover the growing demand for food," said Al Qasemi.
Through hosting SIAL Middle East exhibition over the past nine years, Al Qasemi noted that the Emirate of Abu Dhabi has proved its exceptional potential in organizing and managing the greatest international events, exhibitions and conferences, making them compete with and superior to the global editions. He indicated that the outcome of the latest edition of SIAL Middle East, which had exceeded expectations, is a proof of the emirate's leading role in adding value to the business tourism sectors and events being hosted and overseen by ADFCA. He stressed SIAL Middle East is a perfect platform for international companies operating in food, beverage and travel catering, and for entrepreneurs to expand their projects and investments.
On the sidelines of the exhibition, ADFCA announced it has defined the inputs needed to support food production in Abu Dhabi in 2019, as it made deals with three national companies to supply inputs worth AED 1.580 billion. In addition, the Arab Authority for Agricultural Investment and Development has concluded deals worth AED 606 million. As for Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, it has identified its food and beverages needs for 2019, accounting for AED 344.5 million, 92% for food and 08% for beverages. Meanwhile, the General Directorate of Abu Dhabi Police has defined its food needs for 2019, which amounted to AED 56 million.
Through the airline tickets that were booked and hotel reservations for exhibitors, competitors and visitors, the initial estimates showed that the exhibition has supported the business tourism sector in Abu Dhabi with over AED 48 million. Hosting the exhibition by Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) and visiting Abu Dhabi's tourist attractions by SIAL Middle East visitors have also generated economic returns.
Al Qasemi congratulated ADNEC for signing a memorandum of understanding with SIAL Company, to develop this event and increase halls allocated for its programs. He added that this step will help significantly develop SIAL Middle East. It will also enable the exhibition to achieve success in its 10th edition, which will be held on 9-11 December 2019, by maximizing the return on the exhibitors' investments and increasing the number of SIAL's visitors in line with the agenda of Abu Dhabi.
Al Qasemi revealed the winners of the UAE National Coffee Championship. The Philippine Lablibell Bajarias of Nostalgia Dubai is the winner, while the Emirati Ibrahim Al Mallouhi from Espresso Lab was the second runner-up. Meanwhile, the Philippine Cris Benavente, from Joud Café in Abu Dhabi, has won the UAE National Latte Art Championship, while Prakash Rai of Arabica UAE was the second runner-up, followed by Rajbir Gurung of Arabica UAE as the third runner-up.
He also announced the winners of La Cuisine competition organised by the Emirates Culinary Guild, which drew the participation of 1000 chef competitors. Jumeirah Group won the award best effort made by a company, while Al Jawaher Reception & Convention Centre has received the award of the best effort made by an individual establishment. Furthermore, Hadi Nabil Hussein (C&I), from Jumeirah City, won the best Arab dish award, while Rowan Kumara Filley of Palace Downtown awarded the best pastry chef. Moreover, Doun Sambath Asila Hitirachi, from Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche, awarded the best kitchen, and Laksman Singh, from Atmosphere Restaurant in Burj Khalifa, has received the best cooking award.
During La Cuisine VIP Ceremony, the winners of Chef John Alen Thong Competition for young chefs were announced. Singapore won the competition, the UAE came in the second place, and China won the third place.
"The next SIAL Middle East edition will witness more hospitality, catering and coffee pavilions, due to the strong turnout on those pavilions during this year's edition. The Abu Dhabi Date Palm Exhibition, which it is part of SIAL Middle East, will also witness a significant expansion in terms of space and number of exhibitors. This reflects our keenness to develop dates industry in the country and enable local producers to build new partnerships support the Emirati dates industry in the world. This would promote the national economy and develop dates industry and its manufacturing industries," Al Qasemi clarified.
He praised the great efforts exerted by the sponsors and supporters of SIAL Middle East 2018, and by participants from the private sector. He further asserted their important and vital role in the success of organizing the exhibition over its three days, as well as achieving its goals in the best manner.
SIAL Middle East is an ideal opportunity for international and national companies to discover the latest products produced by the world's food factories. A lot of those companies consider SIAL as a platform for promoting their products, as it enables them build new partnerships with agriculture and food companies in the UAE and the region.