The regional business class event
- Regional WACS chefs competition: 1000 chefs
- Up to 501 hosted buyers from 36 countries
- 952 exhibitors and brands from 47 countries
- 30 national pavilions
- 16,562 visitors from 95 countries and regions
- La Cuisine: Organised by the Emirates Culinary Guild, La Cuisine is now the largest culinary competition in the region with more than 1,000 chefs competing. In 2016, the La Cuisine VIP Restaurant witnessed 9 international five-chef teams compete to prepare a 3 course meal which was served to over 400 people over 3 days.
- SIAL Innovation: A unique celebration of most innovative food and beverage products. All selected products are displayed at the dedicated Innovation Area. In 2016, out of 251 products, 13 finalists were chosen. 3 products were eventually awarded the Gold, Silver and Bronze Award.
- La Cuisine Airline Category: Launched in 2015, the La Cuisine Airline Category adds another dimension for the airline sector buyers at the event to understand the changing dynamics of catering in the air.
- The Mercurys: Running for 35 years, the Mercurys is the most prestigious award in travel catering sector, worldwide. The award ceremony is held at Shangri-La Abu Dhabi every year and attended by more than 150 senior executives from airlines and airline catering companies.
- World Tour: Exclusive content from top food journalists from around the world showcasing latest food trends and statistics related to retail sector.
- Roaming Chefs: Senior executive chefs representing regional hotels & restaurants participate in multiple daily guided tours around the exhibition to meet with exhibitors and discover new products.
- La Cuisine VIP Evening: More than 200 senior chefs in the region and select exhibitors network in an informal setting hosted by SIAL Middle East.
- Regional Coffee Championships: The Regional Coffee Championships (UAE) highlight the skills and knowledge of the country’s best coffee makers. More than 20 competitors brewed up a storm at the competition in 2016.
- Abu Dhabi Food Security Roundtables: Food Security Center - Abu Dhabi (FSCAD) brings together top government officials, CEOs and industry experts to discuss ways of ensuring the availability of affordable, sustainable and nutritious food for the region. Over the 2 days, 4 panel discussions were conducted as part of the roundtables in 2016.
- SIAL Conferences: SIAL Conferences highlight the opportunities, trends and challenges in the food, beverage, hospitality and airline catering sectors in the region as well as rest of the world. In 2016, 3 panel discussions around the key themes of food & beverage and airline catering were part of the conference programme.
- SIAL Middle East Exhibitor Reception: SIAL Middle East hosts a reception for exhibitors and hosted buyers at the event. SIAL Innovation winners are also announced as part of the evening.
- Hosted Buyer Programme: 500 buyers from 30+ countries to promote business matching at the show. SIAL Middle East only hosts buyers with a minimum purchasing power of US$ 500,000 and fully covers flights, accommodation and airport transfers. In 2016, 501 hosted buyers were part of the programme, resulting in 9,046 meetings and introductions with exhibiting companies.
- Hosted Buyer Introduction Suite: The Hosted Buyer Introduction Suite provides a private dedicated space for Exhibitors to meet with batches of selected Hosted Buyers in Speed Networking Sessions.
- Food imports account for 90% of UAE food needs:
- Main products for imports: meat, palm oil, rice, sugar, barley
- Main suppliers: Brazil, India, USA, Australia, Canada
- Today, UAE is the world's third largest re-exporter of food (after Hong Kong and Singapore): 50% of imported foods are re-exported to 160 countries
- Main products for exports: Dairy products, oils, sugar, confectionery, coffee, tea, cocoa, cereals, fruit and vegetables
- By 2017, the UAE’s total food consumption is expected to hit US$10bn while the food market in the GCC is estimated at US$50bn
- GCC is home to 3 of the top 10 airlines in the world (Qatar Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways): the regional airline catering industry averages an annual growth of 5.6%