Athar Awards 2024 to foster innovation in Kingdom’s thriving creative industry

The second Saudi Food Show, the largest global food and beverage sourcing event in the Kingdom, took place from May 21 to 23 at the ROSHN Front. This year’s fair was once again held under the patronage of the Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia, Bandar bin Ibrahim Alkhorayef, with the strategic partner of the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones, or MODON.
After last year’s extremely successful performance, organizers KAOUN International and dmg events took the fair to a new level this year with more than 1,000 exhibitors presenting more than 100,000 product innovations, 97 countries represented and more than 90 speakers, many new to the Kingdom. The proven successes of Top Table Saudi and Youth X Saudi are back in expanded form.
Trixie LohMirmand, Executive Vice President, Dubai World Trade Center, said: “Last year’s highly successful inaugural edition gave the Saudi Food Show the impetus to return with double the size and impact for this second edition.”
After the opening of the Saudi Food Show, Minister Alkhorayef gave a visionary opening speech and toured the exhibition and met with participants. The rest of the first day, organized by MODON, was an opportunity to understand the role of technology in improving the efficiency of food production in the Kingdom, how Saudi Arabia is investing in human capital development in the food and beverage sector to remain competitive, and the role of financial technology in supporting the industry food and drink from a financial point of view.
Ali Alomeir, Vice President of Business Development at MODON, said: “MODON attaches great importance to the localization of the food and beverage industry to contribute to achieving food security for the Kingdom in collaboration with the local and foreign private sector. This is in line with its main role in the National Strategy for Industry and the Saudi Vision 2030, which aims to diversify the national economy, as the food and beverage sector is one of the pillars of developing local content and increasing the contribution of the non-oil sector to the gross domestic product.”
Alomeir added that the food and beverage industry accounts for about 20 percent of the total number of factories in industrial cities, noting: “MODON continues to develop its investment environment and provide it with all the services, industrial, logistics and digital capabilities and applications of the fourth industrial revolution , according to the best standards of competitiveness, until its 36 industrial cities spread across the kingdom become a preferred destination for investment growth. These industrial cities currently include 6,443 factories, more than 7,900 industrial, investment and logistics contracts and developed areas exceeding 209 million square meters, with an investment value exceeding SR415 billion (US$110.6 billion) by the end of 2023. “
Over the second and third days, more than 90 leaders from the public and private sectors, including ministries, food investors, retailers, innovators and hospitality providers, provided insights on how to make the most of the opportunities presented by the Saudi food market and beverages, and ultimately succeed as an F&B company in the Kingdom, through a series of keynote addresses, panel sessions and curated workshops.
On the second day of the summit, one of the key brands that took a deep dive into Saudi Arabia’s changing F&B trade was Panda, the Kingdom’s largest grocer. “As part of the Panda Retail team, we are excited to bring the best flavors of Saudi Arabia to your table by supporting local businesses and partnering with key global players. Our commitment is not just about food; it’s about community empowerment,” said Bandar Al-Saidi, Executive Vice President – ​​Food at Panda Retail.

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