Abu Dhabi: The fourth edition of SIAL Middle East, the region’s fastest growing professional business platform for the food, drink and hospitality industries, will take place next week from November 24-26 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

The Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) announced the highlights of the event on Tuesday.

Mohammad Jalal Al Raisi, Director of Communication and Community Service at ADFCA and Chairman of the SIAL Middle East organising committee, said that the three-day trade exhibition is the largest in the region. It will attract more than 1,000 food and equipment manufacturers and suppliers along with a record 21 international pavilions from five continents, a press release said.

They will all be eager to capitalise on a booming regional food and beverage sector in the GCC in particular, which is expected to attract $106 billion (Dh389.02 billion) of consumer spending in the next five years, reaching an average per capita consumption of 983kg annually.

Held under the patronage of Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of ADFCA, the event will welcome more than 15,000 trade visitors from across the region.

“Expanding regional populations coupled with growing per capita income and a booming tourism sector inevitably translates into higher food consumption,” Al Raisi said. “The UAE has also developed into the largest food processing and re-exporting destination in the Gulf region, and currently has more than 140 food re-export markets around the world.”

“This is also indicative of the strategic importance of SIAL Middle East, which continues its sharp growth curve year-on-year, and will showcase 65 per cent of products that are new to the region. The three-day show certainly provides an exceptional opportunity for international and regional food companies to present and promote their products to new dynamic markets.”

SIAL Middle East is part of SIAL Group, the world’s largest network of professional B2B food exhibitions which include SIAL Paris, SIAL China, SIAL Canada, SIAL Brazil, and SIAL ASEAN in the Philippines.

Co-located with ITCA (International Travel Catering Association) Abu Dhabi, and the Emirates International Date Palm Festival, SIAL Middle East 2013 returns with a three-day conference featuring 35 international and regional experts highlighting the latest innovative trends, industry updates, new products and solutions for the Middle East food, retail, and catering sectors.

Also returning is the hosted buyer programme and La Cuisine by SIAL international chef competition, where 600 international chefs from four continents will compete across 17 different categories to win one of four trophies, including Best Cuisinier, Best Pastry Chef, Best Artist and the Best Arab National Chef.

The prestigious The SIAL Innovation Observatory and Award will put a spotlight on 70 of the world’s most innovative food and beverage products, including winners from the global competitions at SIAL events in China, Brazil, Canada, the Philippines, and Paris.

For more information and to register for SIAL Middle East, go to www.sialme.com.