Radical changes 'needed in food industry'
Abu Dhabi, October 11, 2011
Shifting consumer preferences in the Middle East call for radical changes in the way regional food makers develop and market their products, says an industry expert.
“Today’s consumers are looking at the food products they buy from a whole new angle,” said Xavier Terlet, CEO of the global food industry consultants, XTC World Innovation.
“Analyses of consumer food quality perception many times indicate that health and sensory considerations have about equal weight. Moreover, convenience is a growing trend following the evolution of the way of life,” he said.
“The challenge for manufacturers is to stay ahead of the curve. Technological innovation is important for the region’s food sector in order to face the challenge and exploit the opportunities it offers by adding value and differentiating products.”
Terlet has been named as president of the judging panel for the SIAL Innovation Award, which will take place in the Middle East for the first time, in Abu Dhabi, at SIAL Middle East – the region’s professional business platform for the food, drink and hospitality industry.
SIAL Middle East will be held in strategic partnership with Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, from November 21 -23 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.
SIAL Group – the world’s largest network of professional food events – unveils consumer innovations and trends in the global food industry via its Trend and Innovations Observatory, a favourite feature of SIAL events over the last 10 years. The top products from a range chosen by a jury of independent professionals are finally selected for the prestigious SIAL Innovation Award, a statement said.
This year, SIAL Middle East's Trends and Innovations Observatory will display 50 winning products chosen by the respective juries of SIAL Paris, SIAL China and SIAL Canada – including 10 innovative food products from the Middle East for the first time. These products will compete for the distinguished award which will be presented at a special ceremony during the trade show.
Mohamed Jalal Al Reyaysa, Director of Communications and Community Services, Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority believes the award creates an important showcase for trends and innovations shaping the future of food production and consumption, especially in the Middle East where obesity rates and diabetes is a concern.
“Consequently, healthier and distinguished products that promote consumers welfare are expected to gain attraction,” Al Reyaysa said. “It is in our best interest to showcase global food industry trends and innovations that adopt fresher technologies and practices at SIAL Middle East. After all, food safety ranks high within the region’s development plans.”
Terlet added: “In Europe or in North America for example, 50 per cent of the products sold today in supermarkets did not exist five years ago. The industry is constantly evolving and signals the great importance of strengthening its innovative potential. Looking at it another way, as the region boasts a diverse and expanding demographic profile, 50 per cent of the products that will be sold in five years time will have to be ‘created’.”
Food manufacturing companies can submit their entries electronically through the dedicated webpage of the Trends and Innovation Observatory within the SIAL Middle East official website.
More than 12,000 trade visitors from 80 countries are expected to attend SIAL Middle East 2011. The trade show will host an exhibitor line up of more than 500 food and equipment makers and suppliers from the region, and 15 national pavilions from Turkey, Argentina, Korea, China, Taiwan, Iran, France, Italy, Poland, Vietnam, Thailand, UK, USA, Egypt, Tunisia and the UAE. About 70 per cent of the exhibitors and the food products on display will be seen for the first time in the region, said the statement. – TradeArabia News Service