Abu Dhabi is gearing up to gather 500 hosted food buyers from the region at the highly anticipated food industry trade show SIAL Middle East this year, announced Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority.
Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE, Minister of Presidential Affairs and the Chairman of Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, SIAL Middle East will take place from 21 -23 November, 2011 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.
“The region is highly receptive to the global food industry trends, given its expanding demographic profile and diverse preferences,” said Mohammed Jalal Al Reyaysa, Director of Community Services and Communications, Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority. “The Hosted Buyers Programme will enable food manufacturing companies to develop export potential and reach out to the vibrant Middle East and African market.”
The Middle East’s population is expected to reach 437 million by 2050, a 54 percent increase from 284 million in 2010. According to the Alpen Capital’s most recent report on GCC food industry, the total population of the GCC region expanded at an annual average rate of 3.3% compared to the global average of 1.1% over 2000–10. By 2020, the population in the GCC region is likely to grow by 10 million.
With this increase, the food consumption will reach 51.5 million tonnes by 2015, growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 4.6% over the period of 2011-15, while the food consumption per capita will increase at a CAGR of 2.1% over the period of 2011-15.
“The increasing demand for food presents a great opportunity to manufacturers to reach out to newer markets,” Al Reyaysa said, highlighting the emergence of numerous food distribution channels, franchises, hypermarkets and restaurants that rely heavily on bulk imports and branding.
More than 12,000 trade visitors from 80 countries are expected to attend this year as the trade show will host over 500 exhibitors and 15 national pavilions from Turkey, Argentina, Korea, China, Taiwan, Iran, France, Italy, Poland, Vietnam, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States, Egypt and the UAE.
“At SIAL Middle East, trade professionals and buyers will be able to source an array of food products and services, some of them never seen before in the region,” Al Reyaysa added.
Incorporation with Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, last year SIAL Middle East hosted 329 key buyers from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Lebanon, Oman, Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan. Business deals worth US $ 250 million (AED 937 million) were inked, marking a significant leap for the food industry in the region.
In response to the increase in inquiries for participation and dedicated exhibitor bookings, the number of food buyers has increased to 500, this year. These include decision making purchasers from food processing companies, government bodies, importers, restaurant chains, airlines, retailers and caterers.
Hussain Kenaan, General Manager of Tresor Trading and Contracting Co, Kuwait – who attended SIAL Middle East 2010 as a hosted buyer, said, “It is a great opportunity to network with like-minded people in a more focused atmosphere. Personal contacts are very important to me. The food suppliers actually have the time to sit, talk, discuss, negotiate and finalise deals with the buyers on the spot.”
Al Reyaysa commented further, “SIAL Middle East identifies key strengths that can be enhanced and areas that might be improved to further the economic and competitive potential of the regional food industry against the international benchmarks.”
A dedicated team has been created to deliver the unique matrix designed for the programme, receive requests and examine the eligibility of the applications. Through a series of networking functions and pre-arranged one-to-one meetings, the pre-qualified hosted buyers will be matched with relevant exhibitors to help facilitate business.
The programme will also introduce the food buyers to 50 most innovative, winning products from around the world that will be displayed at the Trends and Innovations Observatory during the show. These products are selected by innovation and food experts during various global SIAL editions in Paris, China, Canada and next to come Brazil.
The major trends and innovations also include fusion food, exotic ingredients, allergen-free food, real-time point-of-sale acquisition of food information and ‘chef at home' cooking products.