Pre-registered visitor numbers up 85% year-on-year as 65% of exhibitors make regional debut; key event themes to cover industry innovation, business expansion and commercial opportunity
Abu Dhabi, November 19, 2012: SIAL Middle East, the region’s fastest growing professional trade exhibition for the food, drink and hospitality industry, has seen pre-event registration grow by 85% year-on-year with 6,000 visitors, across all industry sectors, signing up for next week’s event, which will take place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition centre (ADNEC) from 26-28 November, 2012.
Held in strategic partnership with Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA), the three-day exhibition will occupy all eight halls at the ADNEC venue, and feature three co-located exhibitions, with total floor space accommodating in excess of 1,000 food exhibitors from 52 countries.
Present at a press conference today to unveil the details of the event were dignitaries Jude Akhidenor, Regional Agricultural Attache, Office of Agricultural Affairs, Embassy of the United States and Mohammad Jalal Al Reyaysa, Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee for SIAL Middle East and ADFCA Official Spokesperson. Commenting on SIAL Middle East 2012, Al Reyaysa said “The massive interest shown by all sectors of the food industry in SIAL Middle East was reflective of the growing strategic importance of the food sector as a whole and of the importance of Abu Dhabi as a regional business hub to reach out to vast and expanding markets across the Middle East and North Africa.”
“SIAL Middle East 2012 is taking place at a critical time for the food industry in the region as import and price issues dominate discussion. Bringing retailers, operators and thought leaders together under the SIAL umbrella, offers a unique platform from which to look at the impact of global trends, discuss regional initiatives and fast track business negotiations,” he explained, adding that a contingent of 478 top hosted food buyers from the GCC, Africa and Indian subcontinent will come to SIAL Middle East to specifically source new contacts and do business.
The three-day event includes an action-packed conference programme focusing on Private Label opportunities, a Food & Beverage Business Forum and Food Retail Forum, featuring high profile panel discussions as well as a series of interactive workshop sessions.
Commenting on US participation at SIAL 2012, Jude Akhidenor, Regional Agricultural Attache, Office of Agricultural Affairs, at the Embassy of the United States of America, this year’s country of honour said: “This year there are 17 US exhibitors, participating at SIAL. I am proud to announce that US food exports to the GCC reached an unprecedented level of US$2.8 billion, in 2011, compared to about US$800 million a decade ago. The UAE now accounts for US$1 billion of that total.”
Other highlights include the prestigious SIAL Innovation Awards, a global food accolade that forms an integral part of each international SIAL event, acknowledging groundbreaking products and product trends. The 10 shortlisted nominees for the Middle East awards will be on display at the Innovation Observatory, along with previous winners from other global SIAL events and more than 50 new products. The country’s top culinary talent will also be showcased with 500 chefs taking part in the annual La Cuisine by SIAL cooking competition, now in its third year and organised by the Abu Dhabi chapter of the Emirates Culinary Guild. Chefs at all levels are given the chance to put their skills and creativity to the test across various categories, with performance judged by a panel of peers and industry experts approved by the World Association of Chefs Societies.
Chris Fountain, Managing Director of Turret Media, organisers of SIAL Middle East, said: “We have seen a dramatic rise in demand for space at this year’s event, with 65% of participants exhibiting for the first time in the region and eight new international pavilions. Visitors to the event are expected to hit the 12,000 mark across all four exhibitions, which – for the first time – include the relocated Rice & Grains showcase, Emirates International Date Palm Festival, and the new global event from the International Travel Catering Association (ITCA).”
SIAL Middle East has grown rapidly since its inaugural edition in 2010. In 2011, it welcomed 466 exhibitors from 43 countries, and 9,707 visitors, representing a 55% and 34% increase, respectively, on 2010 figures. The 2012 exhibition and conference has registered an impressive 60% growth in overseas market interest, with a total of 21 international pavilions taking part as well as nine further pavilions spread across Rice & Grains, ITCA Abu Dhabi and the Emirates International Date Palm Festival.