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21/10/2019 – News / Food Processing / Manufacturing / Event / Digitalisation / Technology / Dubai

“Manufacturers must play smart with new tech in a rapidly evolving F&B industry” – SIG @ Gulfood Manufacturing 2019


Digitalisation continues to transform every industry across the globe, and the world’s food supply chain is no exception. The F&B sector is witnessing a technology-driven reinvention as manufacturers and producers strive to meet increasing environmental and legislation, while keeping pace with rapidly-evolving consumer preferences. And Gulfood Manufacturing 2019, which returns to Dubai from 29-31 October, will highlight the crucial role of tech under the theme ‘Food Production Reinvented’.

Food safety, security and wastage are increasingly on the radars of governments across the Middle East and Africa (MEA). The UAE, which accounts for about 40 per cent of the region’s food processing, is leading the regional charge in seeking to more than double the overall GDP contribution of manufacturing from its current 11 per cent to 25 per cent by 2025. 

At the same time, consumers are demanding healthier ingredients – delivered more swiftly, at a lower price, and in more eco-friendly packaging. The result is an industry in the eye of a transformational storm.


Identify the changes – and act fast


With manufacturers increasing asset efficiency, embracing digitalisation can give businesses the edge in an increasingly competitive space, says SIG Combibloc Obeikan, a joint venture of SIG Combibloc and the Obeikan Investment Group – one of the world’s leading systems and solutions providers for F&B aseptic packaging and filling machines. The JV firm is a key exhibitor at the upcoming Gulfood Manufacturing 2019.


“Digital technology is reshaping every sector, and companies are driving the productivity of their assets to succeed. SIG Combibloc Obeikan has established itself as a leader in the transformation of food and beverage packaging, and is digitalising its operations while being at the forefront of implementing smart factories and the internet of packaging,” said Abdelghany Eladib, Chief Operating Officer (Middle East & Africa) at SIG Combibloc Obeikan FCZO.


“Consumers are seeking differentiated convenience products that are sustainable, healthy and at the same time affordable. Producers must quickly identify and act on changing consumer and market demands, while facing supply chain complexities and ever-shorter production cycles,” he added.


SIG and Obeikan have demonstrated how collaboration can be the key to success in the digital era, having partnered with GE Digital to power digital innovation in food and beverage packaging. The firm uses GE Digital’s Predix Asset Performance Management (“APM”) and ServiceMax industrial applications to drive new levels of efficiency. The partnership has resulted in what both companies described as an “end-to-end digital platform that brings a new level of insight and data-driven intelligence to customers, as well as improving reliability and uptime of their filling lines”.


Tech tackling food waste


While technology is driving efficiency and productivity, it also has the ability to help tackle the growing issue of food wastage – a key target for many MEA countries, including the UAE, where food waste costs the local economy an eye-watering AED 13 billion (US$3.54bn) annually.


The Emirates served as the launch-pad for a new AI-enabled product aimed at revolutionising food waste management. The innovation emanates from Winnow Vision, a London-based start-up, in collaboration with the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, and in partnership with Emaar Hospitality Group. Earlier this year, the parties collaborated in a pledge to save three million meals annually by 2020. The long-term goal is to cut food waste by a total of 50 per cent by 2030.


Using a camera, a set of smart scales and machine learning technology, Winnow Vision ‘learns’ to recognise different foods being thrown in the bin and calculates the financial and environment cost of that discarded food to commercial kitchens. Businesses and chefs can then adjust their food purchasing accordingly.


Winnow will be part of an interactive panel discussion entitled ‘AI Talks: Leveraging AI to enter a new era in the F&B industry’ at the Gulfood Manufacturing FoodTech Summit on 31st October.


“With kitchens around the world struggling, food waste is not just an issue in the UAE,” observed Marc Zornes, CEO of Winnow. “Without visibility into what is being wasted, we know that up to 20 per cent of all food purchased ends up in the bin. By understanding and reporting food waste’s real costs – to the bottom line and the environment – Winnow Vision empowers chefs to act. Using technology that learns and improves with each use, Winnow Vision has the ability to tackle food waste on a global scale.” 


Gulfood Manufacturing and premier co-located expos 


Launched in 2014, Gulfood Manufacturing is today one of the definitive meeting places for ingredients, processing, packaging and food logistics providers from all corners of the globe who service the rapidly growing food and beverage production industries across the MEA region and beyond. Gulfood Manufacturing features five dedicated focal sectors: Ingredients, Processing, Packaging, Automation and Controls and Supply Chain Solutions


Running alongside Gulfood Manufacturing 2019 will be a number of co-located events, including Private Label and Licensing Middle East exhibition (PRIME) – the MENA region’s exclusive exhibition for food and non-food FMCG product mix expansion and brand placement. Another key co-located expo is SEAFEX Middle East, the only professional seafood event for the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Meanwhile, yummex ME will also return next week as the leading platform for producers and manufacturers spanning the global sweets, confectionery and snacks industry. 


Gulfood Manufacturing 2019 opens its doors from 10am to 6pm on 29th and 30th October, and 10am to 5pm on 31st October. The premier show is open to all food and beverage industry professionals, and visitor attendance is free of charge. 


For further information, visit:

Latest issue – Vol 1/23
– Health & Nutrition focus
– Gulfood 2023 Special
– Next level legume – The rise of the chickpea
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