Abu Dhabi: SIAL Middle East, the regional edition of the largest food exhibition network in the world, has announced that nominations are now open for the SIAL Innovation Award to be announced during SIAL Middle East: The Middle Eastern Food Exhibition taking place from November 26 to 28, 2012 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.
The SIAL Innovation Award is a global food accolade presented at each SIAL Group event, which includes SIAL Canada, China, Paris, Brazil and the UAE. This year marks the award’s second iteration in the Middle East, with entries judged by experts from XTC World Innovation, an independent food innovation consultancy that has a long history of judging food products at SIAL events worldwide.
Innovative concepts to meet the growing demand for healthier food options among Arab consumers are expected to catch the attention of SIAL Middle East’s audience this year. Interest in natural and organic foodstuffs has been on the upswing in recent years due to improved awareness on the role of nutritional choices in the prevalence of diabetes and other health threats identified with the region. The Middle East’s increasingly wealthy and multicultural residents are especially drawn to innovations that tap unique local food resources, such as camel milk and dates which have been drawing overwhelming attention from SIAL editions in Abu Dhabi, Paris and Shanghai. The UAE’s dates were judged the best-selling product at the recent SIAL China event in Shanghai that took place earlier this year.
“This award is highly anticipated in the industry and has become the showcase of food innovations from around the world. For the companies participating, this award has often been the springboard to success and to the supermarket shelves,” said Xavier Terlet, CEO of XTC World Innovation.
Ten creative concepts will be chosen and displayed within SIAL Middle East’s Innovation Observatory, with an overall winner to be announced during an official awards ceremony on November 26, 2012. The top 10 products will also be displayed at the SIAL Innovation Observatories in Canada, China and Brazil in 2013 and at SIAL Paris in 2014, giving companies a unique marketing opportunity to test their products in these markets.
“The visibility of nominated products to hundreds of thousands of food buyers during SIAL events, and to the international trade media, is second to none,” adds Terlet.
Exhibitors can nominate products through the SIAL Middle East website at www.sialme.com. Entries will be accepted until October 12, 2012.
“Innovation is key to addressing the numerous challenges faced by the Middle East’s food industry and growing concerns over the ability of the region to meet its burgeoning food demands. The quest for healthier living is another driving force for fresher approaches to the region’s food initiatives. SIAL Middle East is an important platform for identifying and exploring the latest solutions, and its SIAL Innovation Award promises to reveal new and exciting directions for the Middle East’s long-term food agenda,” said Chris Fountain, MD, Turret Media.
Food security is a major challenge for GCC countries, a group that imports 90 per cent of its food in the face of limited arable land and a rapidly growing population. The UAE’s recent acquisition and leasing of over 1.4 million hectares of arable land in Sudan, Pakistan and Morocco and USD 1.4 billion in investments into value-added food manufacturing characterizes the growing urgency among Arab states to protect and preserve their food interests.
Held in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority and under the Patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, SIAL Middle East is regarded as the region’s premier food event. Its 2nd edition in 2011 welcomed 466 exhibitors from 43 countries and 9,707 attendees from 78 countries. At least USD 350 million worth of contracts were signed last year, with 86 per cent of participating companies rebooking an exhibition stand for 2012.
What: SIAL Middle East 2012
Where: Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, Abu Dhabi
When: November 26 – 28, 2012