The sixth edition of SIAL Middle East (SIAL ME), the region’s fastest-growing professional trade exhibition for the food, beverages and hospitality industry, returns to Abu Dhabi this month and is expected to welcome a record turnout thanks to a new show format and 6,500 pre-registered visitors; an increase of 30 percent on 2014.
Held under the patronage of 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; global food innovation and future trends will headline the agenda at this year’s event, which takes place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from 7-9 December 2015.
Speaking at the press conference, Ali Yousef Al Saad, Chairman of the organising committee for SIAL 2015 and Acting Director of Communications and Community Service Division at Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA), said: “Innovation is at the heart of our industry, you only have to look at the wide variety of exhibitors showcasing their unique and captivating products to see the advancements this diverse and progressive industry is making.
“Our new-look line-up for this year covers the full spectrum of issues linked to innovation and global food trends, including sustainable food consumption and organic trends, improving local sourcing, the rise of eat and tweet trends and fresh approaches to reducing waste from micro to macro levels.”
SIAL Middle East 2015 will feature more than 900 exhibitors, buyers from 50 major airlines and 30 international pavilions underscoring the growth and popularity of the event. The show opens with the inaugural, invitation-only SIAL World Summit, which is set to welcome more than 700 delegates and 50-plus high profile speakers.
OnBoard Catering at SIAL provides a definitive platform for the travel catering industry in the Middle East region, which is proving to be one of the fastest-growing aviation markets in the world.
According to Fadi Saad, Director, SIAL Middle East the number of passengers arriving at GCC airports is expected to reach 450 million by 2020 compared with just 144 million three years ago and 750 million in-flight meals are currently served by regional airlines each year.
“US$86 billion is being spent by regional airports on expansion, and Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha international airports already have a combined annual capacity for 190 million passengers. It is this growth in passenger traffic that, once added to accelerated global network plans, is driving significant in-flight catering service demand,” he added.
A record number of entries has been received for the SIAL Innovation World Champions awards’ showcase. Up from 142 entries in 2014 to 218 this year, a total of 113 products will compete in the final. The UAE has the fourth largest number of products selected, with India, Italy and France just ahead. The winners from SIAL global events will join the line-up in another first for the exhibition.
Rounding off the show floor events, organised by the Emirates Culinary Guild of Abu Dhabi, in collaboration with the World Association of Chefs’ Societies, La Cuisine by SIAL will feature 850 professional chefs competing for an array of culinary awards.
Finally, new this year is the inaugural Regional Barista Championship, organised in association with the International Coffee & Tea Festival. A total of 21 regional barista competitors will compete for the title of Best Regional Barista. A specially created Brew Bar will also showcase the latest innovations from the coffee world.
Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, Acting Group CEO of Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC), said: “ADNEC is pleased to welcome back SIAL Middle East which has become an important annual event on our calendar.
“As the mega event is expected to draw the participation of hundreds of international delegates, we look forward to working with our strategic partners and the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority to ensure a seamless experience for the organisers, exhibitors and delegates.
“We are confident that the exhibition will support Abu Dhabi’s sustained efforts to emerge as an international hub for food, drink and hospitality industry.”