The fourth edition of SIAL Middle East, the region�s fastest growing professional business platform for the food, drink and hospitality industries, which concluded on November 26, resulted in business deals worth US$544 million.
The event also brought to the region for the first time a host of new and innovative food products from around the world. More than 17000 trade visitors visited the exhibition and 80% of the show is rebooked onsite for the next year.
Held from November 24-26 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre in strategic Partnership with Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, SIAL Middle East attracted more than 1000 food and equipment manufacturers from around the globe. 21 international pavilions from five continents showcased
His Excellency Rashed Mohamed Al Shariqi, Director General of ADFCA, expressed his gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of ADFCA for his patronage of the event and support.
Al Shariqi said the event exceeded all expectations. �SIAL Middle East is of vital strategic importance for Abu Dhabi and the UAE in light of the ever increasing need for food products in the country and the region on the one hand and the demographic diversity here on the other. The fact that we import much of our food requirements is another crucial factor that turns events such as SIAL Middle East into watershed events. The massive success of SIAL Middle East since inception is also a testimony to the prominence of Abu Dhabi as a preeminent hub for food businesses for the entire MENA region,� he explained.
The booming regional food and beverage sector in the GCC is expected to attract $106 billion (Dh389.02 billion) of consumer spending in the next five years, reaching an average per capita consumption of 983kg annually. The growth in population across the GCC region, increasing per capita income and a dynamic tourism sector are factors that contribute to higher food consumption. The UAE has now become the largest food processing and re-exporting centre in the Gulf region.
�The fact that 65% of the products showcased this year is new to the region is indicative of the importance businesses attach to SIAL Middle East. ADFCA is committed to facilitate this growth in food businesses without compromising on food safety, our primary responsibility towards the general public,� he added.
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 Brazil, and SIAL ASEAN in the Philippines. Co-located with ITCA (International Travel Catering Association) Abu Dhabi, and the Emirates International Date Palm Festival, the three-day SIAL Middle East 2013 also became the platform for several conferences, featuring 35 international and regional experts, who spoke at length on the current trends, possible solutions for the region�s food-related issues and the way forward for the food industry.
The hosted buyer programme and La Cuisine by SIAL international chef competition, where 600 international chefs from four continents competed across 17 different categories to win one of four trophies, including Best Cuisinier, Best Pastry Chef, Best Artist and the Best Arab National Chef, were among the highlights of the event. The SIAL Innovation Observatory and Award l brought especial attention to 70 of the world�s most innovative food and beverage products, including winners from the global competitions at SIAL events in China, Brazil, Canada, the Philippines, and Paris.