11/28/2012 12:00 AM

SIAL Middle East, the regional edition of the world�s largest food exhibition network, has revealed the winner of its prestigious SIAL Innovation Award programme for 2012 at a gala dinner and awards ceremony, which took place last night (Monday 26 November) at the Aloft Hotel, Abu Dhabi.

A total of 15 nominations from seven countries vied for the accolade, with the overall winner, Nutrigreen SA of Portugal, accepting the highly prized and high profile award for its �Wow Every Now Unboring Fruit� fresh fruit pieces range, from Xavier Terlet, CEO of market intelligence consultancy, XTC World Innovation, and head of the judging panel.

�Our panel of industry judges were unanimous in their decision this year, with Nutrigreen SA keeping it simple (KISS) and ticking all the right boxes as a standout example of marketplace innovation reflecting the global trend for convenience, combined with new demand for products with natural health benefits that offer a pleasurable eating experience,� said Terlet.

�This is the first time we have participated at SIAL Middle East and are thrilled to receive this prestigious industry accolade. Our fresh fruit bars are a convenient solution to enjoying one of your five-a-day portions of fruit and vegetables in a simple, attractively packaged and fuss-free way,� said Lidia Santos, board member, Nutrigreen SA.

Mohamed Jalal Al Reyaysa, Chairman of the Higher Organizing Committee for SIAL Middle East and Official Spokesperson of Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, said: �I hope the award program and the exciting range of innovative products that took part in the contest will inspire food companies in the UAE to creatively improvise on their culinary skills and add further momentum to the dynamism of the industry. The award program complements the basic objective behind organizing SIAL Middle East, which is to take the food industry here to the next stage of growth and diversification.�

�Our SIAL Innovation Award is a global food accolade presented at each of our five international events - from Brazil and China to Canada and France - and has been a core feature of the show for two decades,� said Chris Fountain, Managing Director, Turret Media, organisers of SIAL Middle East.

�The industry thrives on its ability to constantly reinvent and innovate as consumers become more demanding, and technology allows us to enter new realms of the possible, and the SIAL award is a vital platform for the food sectors� most creative minds to showcase their ideas and inspire their peers,� he added.

The 2012 nominations included multiple submissions from the US, Portugal and South Korea, as well as entries from Argentina, Luxembourg, New Zealand and the UAE with products including frozen food items, fruit juices and beverages, baking mixes, cured and prepared meats, desserts and sweets.

Exhibitors and visitors to the show can also view more than 50 winning products from other global SIAL events, as well as the 2012 nominations, at the Innovation Observatory, a highlight of the three-day exhibition and conference, which is held in strategic partnership with Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA),

�Demand from the Middle East consumer for natural, healthy food choices is a growing trend, and is increasingly important for the region�s economy as nutrition becomes a key factor in the purchase decision,� remarked Terlet.

According to Terlet, Turkey currently leads the Arab world in innovation, closely followed by the UAE. �The rise of the UAE in the innovation rankings is supported by changing consumer attitudes to food, coupled with willingness on the part of producers and the relevant authorities. While there are a lot of innovative products being launched by Occidental producers, we are also seeing more and more from local companies,� he said.

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