UAE: Top food retailers, restaurateurs and thought leaders head to SIAL Middle East

SIAL Middle East, the region’s fastest growing professional trade exhibition for the food, drink and hospitality industry, returns to the UAE from 26-28 November 2012 with a three-day conference programme that focuses on a trio of complementary themes covering industry developments across the region.

Mohamed Jalal Al Reyaysa, Director of Communication at ADFCA.

Taking place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) in strategic Partnership with Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA), the three-day conference programme will focus on three main areas – a study of Private Label opportunities, a Food & Beverage Business Forum dedicated to foodservice professionals, and a Food Retail Forum, with high profile panel discussions as well as a series of interactive workshop sessions.

“SIAL Middle East 2012 will welcome 35 high profile local, regional and international experts to the conference podium. This year we have undertaken face-to-face interviews with professionals in the region to build a programme that really tackles the hot topics of today. With different days dedicated to content for foodservice and food retail professionals, these seminars are no longer something that sit on the sidelines of the exhibition, but will form an important platform for education, knowledge sharing and networking to drive forward opportunities in the region,” said Mohamed Jalal Al Reyaysa, Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee for SIAL Middle East and ADFCA’s Official Spokesperson.

Koen De Jong, Director of the International Private Labal Consult (IPLC), is one of three industry professionals to deliver the VIP opening keynote on day one, looking at the risks and rewards of private labels, followed by a workshop session that will examine how the three-tiered UK private label model could be rolled out in the UAEand ways to improve collaboration between retailer and manufacturer to drive private label growth.

Koen De Jong commented “The food retail market in the Middle East is transforming from traditional souks to upscale shopping malls and hypermarkets, in line with the European model, and [with] the ongoing consolidation of the retail landscape in theUAE, private labels will become increasingly more important to retailers.”

The Food & Beverage Business Forum on 27 November will address and provide invaluable insight into industry issues including the top five tips for restaurant success, how to stay competitive in the face of rising costs, dining trends for 2013, and effective social media strategies for restaurants and cafes.

“This will be an action-packed day with particular focus on consumer trends and local and international case studies. With speaker panels including chefs and restaurateurs from the likes of Gaucho, OKKU, Hakassan and the Jumeirah, Hilton, Intercontinental and Radisson hotel chains, we are looking forward to hearing many success stories,” said Al Reyaysa.

Wrapping up the week, day three’s Food Retail Forum will begin with a keynote address from Andrew Williams, Regional Director, Middle East North Africa, Kantar Retail, who will look at global trends in food retail and examine how they are impacting and translating in the region.
“Trends we are seeing include the evolution of new channels and formats such as convenience retailing, as well as increasing focus on food on-the-go in hybrid retail channels such as 7-Eleven type outlets, which concentrate on building offers that are more about pure profits than pure retail,” he said.

Other speakers at the 2012 SIAL Middle East conference include Kim Kung-mee, Director of Korea National Food Cluster, Korea Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Henk Bruggeman, Director Operations Middle East and China, Hakkasan; Ian Ohan, GCC area developer and owner, N_K_D Pizza; Xavier Terlet, President, XTC World Innovation; Joseph Chalfoun, Area General Manager, FoodFund International; Lloyd Carter, Executive Development Chef, Jumeirah Restaurants; Naveed Dowlatshahi, Executive Director, Kash Global Consultancy; and Ryan Hattingh, International Operations Director, Gaucho.

Held in strategic partnership with Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority and organized by Turret Media, SIAL Middle East has grown rapidly since its inaugural edition in 2010, and in 2011 welcomed 466 exhibitors from 43 countries, and 9,707 visitors.

This year’s event is co-located with a trio of complementary exhibitions including Rice & Grains 2012, ITCA Abu Dhabi – the new global exhibition by the International Travel Catering Association (ITCA), and the Emirates International Date Palm Festival, which together will welcome more than 1,000 exhibitors including 30 national pavilions from Argentina to Vietnam.