The largest edition of the event to date will feature over 1,000 exhibitors and is expected to draw the participation of 25,000+ industry experts and unique visitors from more than 45 countries. SIAL Middle East 2018 will also host over 30 country pavilions, including the pavilions of Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, China, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Jordan, Korea, Latvia, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Sudan, Tajikistan, Thailand and Turkey.
His Excellency Saeed Al Bahri Al Ameri said: “SIAL Middle East is gaining importance year after year for its role in opening new business prospects for buyers and suppliers in one of the world’s fastest-growing F&B markets as well as enhancing the emirate’s position as a leading F&B hub. With the country’s total food sales in 2016 reaching AED121 billion, the F&B industry is the second largest economic sector in the UAE. Food consumption in the country is expected to increase from 48.1 million tonnes in 2016 to 59.2 million tonnes by 2025. The value of Abu Dhabi’s food exports in H1 2018 totalled AED516 million, while the value of its food imports stood at AED3.3 billion during the same period.”
He added: “Due to its highly developed infrastructure that provides businesses with crucial support required to expand their operations, the UAE topped Arab countries in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2017. The country’s FDI exceeded AED38 billion, accounting for 36 per cent of the total FDI inflow to the Arab world and registering a 7.8 per cent growth compared to 2016, according to the World Investment Report 2018. The UAE jumped up five places to the 30th position in the global FDI flow ranking. The country also ranks first in the region and fourth globally in F&B investment, according to Business Monitor International’s Risk/Reward Index.”
For his part, Mohamed bin Obaid Al Mazrouei said: “As the Investment Partner of SIAL Middle East 2018, AAAID supports the event through facilitating deals in the agri-food sector. The Authority also plans to sign several cooperation agreements with specialised agricultural companies and host its annual investment meeting on the second day of the event. The meeting will feature a packed agenda of sessions that highlight investment opportunities in the agri-food sector in the Arab world, led by eminent experts from across the global food supply chain. Topics in focus will include AED125 billion investment opportunities in feed and grain, meat, vegetable oils, sugar, dairy products, and agricultural technology and equipment, as well as issues related to contract farming and food security in the Arab world.”
Thamer Al Qasimi said: “SIAL Middle East contributes to enhancing the competitiveness of local products in international markets. The rising interest in the upcoming edition from some of the biggest local and international food-related organisations demonstrates the reputation the event has built up over the past several years. Owing to the sustained support of our partners and high uptake from the industry’s most influential players, we can look forward to hosting yet another successful edition.”
Al Qasimi also noted that during SIAL Middle East 2018, the Food Security Center – Abu Dhabi (FSCAD) will convene several senior government officials, CEOs and industry experts to discuss ways to ensure the sustainability of food supply chains and enhance collaboration in the field of food security in Abu Dhabi and the wider region.
He added: “The fourth edition of Abu Dhabi Date Palm Exhibition, also part of SIAL Middle East 2018, will feature the UAE’s first dates auction, making it the ideal platform to explore the best varieties of dates and to meet with industry leaders to share expertise in enhancing production. The dedicated B2B event for date palm fruit offers tremendous opportunities for suppliers of dates to network with leading brands in the hospitality sector.”
Joanne Cook said: “The upcoming edition of SIAL Middle East will feature an impressive line-up of side events and activities, including the Hosted Buyer Programme that offers a dedicated space for exhibitors to meet with batches of select hosted buyers. As part of the programme, the Hosted Buyer Introduction Suite will organise nine sessions based on product category, and the Hosted Buyer VIP Lounge will allow hosted buyers, VIPs and key influencers to hold meetings.”
She also revealed that SIAL Middle East 2018 will feature the SIAL Innovation area, displaying 30 most innovative food and beverage products out of 150+ submissions, with the winning entry exhibited at upcoming SIAL events around the world. The agenda will also include the SIAL Innovation World Champions showcase, introducing 11 SIAL Innovation winners from SIAL Paris, SIAL China, SIAL Canada and SIAL InterFOOD in Jakarta to buyers and visitors.
In collaboration with the Emirates Culinary Guild, SIAL Middle East 2018 will host La Cuisine, the region’s largest culinary competition and a favourite meeting point for food service professionals. This year’s contest will see more than 1,000 chefs from across the region compete in 19 categories. Furthermore, the event will include La Cuisine VIP Evening, convening 150 senior chefs from the region in an informal setting at the spectacular Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi, and Roaming Chefs – guided tours for senior executive chefs representing hotels and restaurants from the region and beyond.
The agenda of SIAL Middle East 2018 will also include the Mercurys, the most prestigious awards in travel catering worldwide. Running for 36 years and judged by a panel of independent experts, the awards recognise the very best in travel catering with five main categories spanning airline meals, service, general on-board food and beverages, and equipment. Another major highlight of the event this year will be the UAE National Coffee Championships, a competition certified by World Coffee Events (WCE) and sanctioned by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA).
SIAL Middle East 2018 has signed on Abu Dhabi Chamber as Host Sponsor, AAAID as Investment Partner, Abu Dhabi Farmers’ Services Centre as Silver Sponsor, LuLu Group International as Retail Partner and Etihad Airways as Official Carrier.