A stall at the event

A stall at the event

Halal show was a treat for all

01 January 2015

THE third Halal Middle East Exhibition and Congress held last month at Expo Centre Sharjah provided a high-profile meeting ground for the global halal industry and its stakeholders.

With spending on halal products and services worldwide set to increase more than 50 per cent to $2.47 trillion by 2018 from $1.62 trillion in 2012, mostly due to rising demand in the Middle East and Asia, industry observers attached much significance to the three-day fair and congress.

A Kitchen Equipment & Technology Exhibition Middle East was held as a companion piece.

Halal Middle East was held under the patronage of HH Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah. Opening the exhibition was Sheikh Saqr Bin Mohammed Bin Khalid Al Qassimi, chairman, Sharjah Department of Islamic Affairs. Present were Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Owais, chairman, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry; Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, CEO, Expo Centre Sharjah, and other officials, dignitaries and industry representatives.

“From a niche segment, halal has grown to become a huge industry with a massive growth rate. Rising global demand, increasing consumer awareness and spending, launch of new products and categories, efforts by several countries to gain a better foothold in the industry and a renewed push to harmonise regulations are making it one of the fastest growing industries in the world,” said Al Midfa.

“The event is one of the largest and most comprehensive ones in the region given that it consists of a trade fair and a congress, a series of specialised workshops, seminars and the complementary kitchen show,” added Al Midfa.

Scene at the Halal show at the Expo Centre, Sharjah

Scene at the Halal show at the Expo Centre, Sharjah

As well as exhibitors from across the world, the exhibition hosted special pavilions from countries such as Thailand, South Africa, Iran and the Philippines. The Thailand and South Africa pavilions made their debut at the show.

“The food industry in Thailand is well respected and accepted across the world and we are bringing six leading halal names to the event. We are providing a major entry vehicle to our exhibitors to the regional market through the show,” said Ms Suntaree Getkong, assistant vice-president, National Food Institute, Thai Ministry of Industry.

The South African National Halal Authority (Sanha) led a pavilion of 14 companies from South Africa. “Sanha is committed to standardising halal procedures locally and globally by promoting uniformity, professionalism, transparency and accountability,” said its executive officer Suleman Mahomedy. The pavilion promoted quality halal products for Middle East markets with the aim of boosting South African exports to this region.

Delegations from several countries visited the show in order to find new markets and develop their products. The Philippine delegation aimed to learn best halal industry practices of different OIC member countries and tap into their expertise to improve its industries, Aleem Siddiqui Guiapal, bureau director of the National Council on Muslim Filipinos’ Economic Affairs, was quoted as saying in local media.

Al Midfa said the third Halal Congress Middle East opened doors to the trillion-dollar halal market. While the issue of Shariah compliance and global standards were the main issues for the congress sessions, several topics that looked into business opportunities, branding, future developments and challenges were taken up by speakers who are well-known names in the field.

The second Kitchen Equipment & Technology Exhibition Middle East become an integral part of the event with the Chefs’ Tech Arena, organised by the International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA), Dubai, becoming an instant hit with visitors.

“At ICCA, we embrace technology, innovation and application in our daily practice. The organising and running of the Chefs Tech Arena was in line with this practice,” said Sunjeh Raja, director and CEO of the International Centre for the Culinary Arts, Dubai. The Chefs Tech Arena gave an insight into new technology and trends, featuring a fully functional industrial kitchen with live production for around 500 persons on each day of the expo.

It also featured seminars on topics such as complete kitchen solutions at design stage, blast freezing techniques for tomorrow’s kitchens and eco-friendly exhaust systems as well as a Chef Networking Point for visiting chefs to interact and network and a Kitchen Consultant Clinic that provided design and trouble shooting advice.

Other attractions included a workshop on the basics of meat preparation by Chef Tarek Ibrahim and ICCA, barista coffee making and gelato making demos.

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