RIYADH: The 10th Foodex Saudi, a prominent international food and beverage trade exhibition, is underway at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center until Sept. 20.
The event, which started Sept. 17, showcases the latest innovations in the sector, featuring 300 brands from 18 countries. Its objective is to attract more brands to the Saudi market by targeting investors from various food sectors and trades.
One of the largest pavilions at the exhibition is from the EU, with a variety of food and beverages that represent Europe’s diverse agricultural heritage. In addition to offering delicious cuisine from the continent, the EU pavilion also emphasizes the bloc’s dedication to supporting farmers and producers.
EU Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Christophe Farnaud inaugurated the EU pavilion. With the theme “More than Food,” it captivates attendees with a diverse range of culinary delights from all 27 member states.
Farnaud said: “Every food product, representing the diversity of EU member states’ traditions, has a story, and we are here to tell you these stories.
“European food products are anything but new to this trade show. Many European member states and EU co-financed promotion programs for EU food have been showcasing their products at Foodex and across Saudi Arabia.”
With the EU being one of the major suppliers of agri-food products to the Gulf Cooperation Council region, Farnaud said that the GCC has a “dynamic and growing market.”
He said: “The GCC is our fifth most important trading partner for agri-food products and trade flows are dynamic — since 2009 the value of EU agri-food exports has more than doubled.
“The Gulf Cooperation Council region is one of the EU’s top partners in agricultural trade and a major destination for high-value products, such as halal meats, cheese, olive oil, chocolate, fruit and vegetables, cereals and food preparations.”
Farnaud mentioned that the EU introduced the Geographical Indication system, which guarantees that each product is accompanied by a label indicating its place of origin.
He said: “A Geographical Indication is a certified sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
“In order to function as a Geographical Indication, a sign must identify a product as originating in a given place. Geographical Indication covers all food and drink sectors and you will find many of them at the various European food stands in this trade show.”
During the next two days, participants and visitors at Foodex will have the opportunity to discover European delicacies at designated booths representing Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Poland, and Spain.
Farnaud said: “I am convinced this trade show will enrich the understanding of the merits of EU food products and intensify cooperation between Saudi and EU food companies.”
The EU pavilion will include interactive experiences, product tastings, workshops and live cooking demonstrations led by renowned European and Saudi chefs Pierluigi Saffioti and Ammar Al-Barakati.
The pair will cook both classic European recipes and innovative fusion dishes, combining EU ingredients with Saudi flavors.
Industry experts will guide visitors through informative sessions dedicated to olive oil, cereals, dairy and other European goods.
The pavilion will allow Saudi businesspeople to gain valuable insights into effectively marketing EU products to consumers in the Kingdom through networking opportunities with European delegates and industry leaders.