Day Three of the Abu Dhabi International Food Exhibition (ADIFE) brought down the curtain an outstanding exhibition and conference that gathered thousands of attendees, hundreds of brands and exhibitors, and many industry leaders from across the government, industry, agriculture, and food and beverage (F&B) sectors to advance the food industry’s future development.
Held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Chairman of the Presidential Court, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA), and organized by ADNEC Group in strategic partnership with ADAFSA, the second edition of the exhibition was held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre over three highly productive days that promoted new innovations and generated significant new business deals. With the exhibition floor space covering more than 28,400 square meters, the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre was filled with exhibitors from more than 50 countries around the world, including 12 countries participating for the first time.
Agreements and Deals
With a total of AED 3.9 billion in deals and agreements having been made over the last three days, ADIFE has further strengthened its position as a global hub for Business and Government Innovation in the Food & Beverage (F&B) Industry. The final day of the exhibition saw the signing of further deals involving government and private entities attending ADIFE.
Throughout the second edition of the Hosted Buyers Lounge, hosted buyers and sellers have continued to engage in business discussions and form partnerships at the dedicated and exclusive lounge. Over the course of this year’s ADIFE, a total of 3966 meetings have taken place, highlighting ADIFE’s active role in bringing F&B buyers and sellers to Abu Dhabi and facilitating networking and business opportunities.
This year’s exhibition has proven to be a success for both major buyers and sellers, with the numerous deals and discussions taking place reflecting the growing importance of this sector on the local, regional and international levels. The exhibition continues to provide an opportunity for companies, from small and
medium enterprises to large global corporations, to showcase the latest F&B offerings and explore business and investment opportunities that should help drive growth and open new markets.
Under the theme of ‘Developing the Next Generation “Agripreneur”’, day three’s ADIFE talks started with an informative session led by Priti Pal of Symvision AI, who outlined the uses of innovative new tech in predicting consumer demand by tracking global trends and customers’ emotional and performance needs. Following this, Dr Hanan Afifi, Lead Researcher at ADAFSA, presented a study of food consumption in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi that stressed the importance of survey data to policy making and planning. Amna Al Sabaa, a Specialist at the ADAFSA Partnership and Investment Office, discussed funding and investment opportunities in the Agri-food sector. Next on the agenda was an Expert Talk from Feras Al Soufi, General Manager at Emirates Crop One and Avinash Ratta, CEO of Grainvelocity, who held an illuminating discussion on new agri-food innovation in the food sector.
Following the morning sessions, Caroline Kolta, Program Director of XPRIZE, presented the aims and competition criteria for the ‘Feed the Next Billion’ case study of challenge-based funding. This initiative serves the XPRIZE foundation’s non-profit mission to encourage technological development through incentivized competition for the benefit of humanity. Subsequent to this, Dr Simon Miller, Conformity Programs Specialist at the Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council, discussed approaches to novel foods and the regulatory path to market access in the UAE and wider region.
The Talk’s afternoon sessions continued with a presentation on ‘Empowering Women in the Agriculture: Fostering a New Era of Visionary Entrepreneurs’ from Dr Hanan Ali Hamood Al Gaai, who is Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Woman Development Organization. Edwar Hamod, CEO and Founder of Switch Foods and Avinash Ratta of Grainvelocity discussed the sustainability of plant-based foods in refining human diets. Following this, Shabab Ibrahim, Head of Sales with The Cloud, outlined ways in which innovators and companies could enter the cloud food brand space. The day’s Talks concluded with an Ishraq Program Showcase on ‘Empowering the next generation’, which presented the Program as a community-based initiative that focused on the development of new leadership skills and freedom of expression and movement as essential ingredients for empowerment.
The Brewers Cup Championship
One of the highlights of this year’s exhibition was the UAE National Brewers Cup Championship, which brought together the world’s finest brewers to demonstrate their skill, creativity, and passion for coffee.
In total, 16 brewers took part in the competition, with the championship serving as a platform for sharing knowledge, discovering new trends, and celebrating the rich culture that surrounds coffee. Over the three days of ADIFE, a panel of judges assessed the competitors participating in the Brewers Cup Championship and ranked them according to specific criteria including the time of the brew, how the brewers prepared specific beans, the aroma of the final cup, their overall presentation and, ultimately, coffee’s taste.
Following the final judging on Day Three of ADIFE, Frederick Bejo from Archers was awarded first place in the UAE National Brewers Cup Competition, an amazing achievement that illustrated the very close margins for success given the quality of the other brewers competing at the event. Frederick Bejo will go on to represent the United Arab Emirates at high-profile future international coffee events including the Busan World Coffee Championships, a leading global event of its kind that will also feature the World Barista Championship, and the Copenhagen World Coffee Championships set to be held in Copenhagen in June 2024.
This year’s UAE National Brewers Cup Championship at ADIFE saw baristas from a wide range of countries compete in a series of challenges designed to push the boundaries of coffee brewing. The championship was not only a contest, but also a celebration of the art of coffee that enabled attendees to witness the intricate processes and dedication behind each cup. The Brewers Cup Championship therefore highlighted the craft of filter coffee brewing by hand according to the highest standards of excellence.
The Pizza Hub
The Pizza Hub Competition also concluded on day three, marking the end of the new culinary contest at ADIFE that celebrating the art of pizza, with top chefs from around the world displayed their craft, explored new dimensions in pizza cuisine, and offered a global perspective on this classic favorite for the benefit of experts, culinary innovators and attendees at the exhibition. The actively engaged were able to sample a range of pizzas, from classic Neapolitan to avant-garde creations that highlighted the versatility and global appeal of this beloved dish. A rich agenda included masterclasses, live demonstrations, and competitions.
Mario Federici from Antonia emerged as the worthy winner with their work representing the innovation and skill that ADIFE celebrates. The ADIFE Pizza Hub Competition has underscored the exhibition’s global reach and significance within the international pizza scene by spotlighting its key role in fostering connections across the world’s culinary landscape.
World Gourmet Show
Day three of ADIFE saw the World Gourmet Show maintaining its position as a crowd favorite at the exhibition, with Michelin Star chefs from around the world displaying their highly-skilled cooking expertise in preparing signature dishes for the entertainment of an attentive audience.
Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister, Chairman of Presidential Court, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA), witnessed the start of the ICCA Cooking competition hosted by the International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA), a leading TVET school in culinary arts in Abu Dhabi that provides award-winning learning experiences to aspiring chefs, artisans, and entrepreneurs from across the UAE and other countries. Featuring some of the leading upcoming chefs in the UAE, the competitors took full advantage of the opportunity to show their skills in front of a panel of esteemed judges from the culinary world.
With the students divided into three teams, each team was given five minutes to select their high-quality ingredients and one mystery ingredient followed one hour to prepare a dish. As ADIFE focuses on the importance of sustainability and reducing food waste in the culinary and cooking industry, the chefs had to find imaginative and creative ways to use every ingredient they selected. The winning team from the ICCA Competition was Team Two, which consisted of Maitha Ahmed Mohamed Abdulla Alshamsi, a local Emirati and Joemar Idios who impressed with esteemed panel of judges with their expertise and skills throughout the competition.