The sixth annual SIAL Middle East exhibition, the fastest growing event for the region's food, drink and hospitality sectors, concluded on Wednesday at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) with confirmed trade agreements worth in excess of AED3.7 billion.
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 who inaugurated the event, saw a number of major onsite announcements made during the three day show, including UAE-based agricultural firm and headline sponsor Al Dahra's agreement with Jordan to supply nearly one million tonnes of wheat and barley to ease the country's food security concerns.
The UAE signed deals with Morocco for US$ 41 million for the plantation of olives, red fruits, citrus and livestock farming in Morocco. Retail partner Lulu expected to sign a range of deals worth up to US$7 million while Abu Dhabi Farmers' Services Centre – through their retail brand, Local Harvest, signed a range of deals including Emirates Future, the leading livestock trading company.
Organised in strategic partnership with the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA), Ali Yousef Al Saad, Chairman of the organising committee for SIAL 2015 and Acting Director of Communications and Community Service Division of the Authority said:
"SIAL Middle East, has become a vital component of the region's food and beverage sector. This year we have seen record numbers across all verticals at the show, reinforcing the strategic importance of the event by creating a platform for discussion on hot industry topics such as food security and sustainability. Year after year SIAL reinforces Abu Dhabi's position as a leading trade hub for the Middle East, benefiting the economy by promoting investment and business."
"The success of the event, now in its 6th edition, is attributed to the support of the Abu Dhabi Government and the patronage of HH Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, which has been instrumental in growing the show to the record number we have seen this year with our commitment to growing the event further in 2016," he said.
A record number of entries were received for the SIAL Innovation World Champions awards' showcase won by The Coffee Brewer by Soil Store for their innovative coffee on-the-go bag. Up from 142 entries in 2014 to 218 this year, a total of 113 products competed in the final.
New to the show this year was the inaugural Regional Barista Championship, organised in association with the International Coffee & Tea Festival. A total of 20 regional barista competitors competed for the titles of Best Regional Barista 2015 which was eventually won by Armiel Alkuino and the Regional Latte Art 2015 winner Frederik Bejo.
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 by SIAL featured over 850 professional chefs competing in a variety of culinary competitions.
Commenting on SIAL's expanding role in the region's food and beverage industry, Fadi Saad, SIAL Managing Director, SIAL Middle East, said: "This year we have witnessed growth across the board with visitor numbers, international pavilions, competition entries, speakers and attendees all increasing. All of these factors underscore the importance of the event in addressing the major talking points within the food and beverage sector today. We approach SIAL 2016 with renewed vigour and confidence."
The event is supported by host sponsor, Abu Dhabi Chamber; headline sponsor, Al Dahra Agriculture; diamond sponsor, Jenaan Investments; platinum sponsor, Agthia; silver sponsor, Health Authority of Abu Dhabi & Emirates Authority for Standardisation & Metrology and retail partner, Lulu.
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.