Gulfood Manufacturing Industry Excellence awards highlights era of innovation in regional food manufacturing industry

Held on the evening of day one of the Gulfood Manufacturing exhibition, the Gulfood Manufacturing Industry Excellence Awards 2018 rewarded best practices and innovation across the food manufacturing industry value chain.

Chosen from the 1,600 exhibitors at this year’s Gulfood Manufacturing event, the awards recognised transformative breakthroughs and new technologies from future-thinking food industry innovators, encompassing health, safety, environmental awareness, ingredients and technological development.

Categories were open to all exhibitors at the show, with entries judged by an international panel of qualified experts who represented the food processing and packaging industries, graphics experts, equipment suppliers, academia, the trade press, governmental, environmental and trade organisations.

This year’s awards were divided into seven categories: Most Innovative Food Ingredient (General); Most Innovative Health Ingredient; Top packaging Innovation (Creativity/Design); Most Innovative Processing Solution; Top Futuristic Technology “Future in Focus”; Top Food Safety Initiative/Technology; and Environmental Award of the Year.

The transparent and highly-regulated judging process based its decisions on four main criteria. Innovation/originality focused on the integration of new technology, the creativity level during development processes, and transferability. Efficiency/cost reduction looked at an increase in quality, reduction in waste, clean and efficient energy consumption and increased production and/or distribution efficiency. Health & environmental focused on the concepts of sustainability, wholesomeness, clean, health and benefits for the greater good. And customer centric examined marketability, commercialisation and success rate.

There were two categories for innovative ingredients at this year’s awards. The first – Most Innovative Food Ingredient (General) – was collected by EMF Emirates LLC for its Callebaut Finest Belgian RUBY Chocolate RB1. EMF Emirates is a UAE-based subsidiary of EMF Middle East, the regional coordination office for the global chocolate company Barry Callebaut Group. After dark, milk and white, Ruby Chocolate is known as the fourth chocolate, offering a whole new taste and experience from the ruby cocoa bean without the need to add additional colouring and fruit flavours.

“This award is tribute to the work of our team and Callebaut, the most innovative chocolate company in the world. This product is a totally new innovation. We’ve seen dark, white, milk. Now this is the fourth chocolate, with absolutely no flavouring, no colouring, it is all about the way the ruby coloured been is processed. The best part is, it’s 100 per cent sustainable,” said Pierre Feghali, General Manager of EMF Emirates.

With health and wellness a continuing regional and global trend, the second innovative ingredient category – Most Innovative Health Ingredient – focused on ingredients from a health perspective, looking at clean label, nutrition and healthy eating. The award went to Morinaga Nutritional Foods (Asia Pacific) for its Probiotic Bifidobacterium longum.

Handary SA, the shelf life specialists from Belgium, collected the award for ‘Top Food Safety Initiative/Technology’ for its Fixolor™ Malolactic Enzyme, a natural alternative to artificial colour stabilisers such as citric acid and nitrate. The Fixolor™ colour retention agent combine all-natural ranges of known ingredients to increase colour stability.

The team returned to the stage for second time to collect the ‘Top Packaging Innovation Award’ for its Antipack™ Bio-degradable Active Antifungal film. This innovation helps to potentially triple shelf life, resulting in more efficient and productive operations for food producers, while meeting the needs of consumers for environmentally-friendly packaging.

“These awards show that we are on the right track with our innovations and show these products are really needed.  The Fixolor answers the needs of consumers who want to stop using nitrate and this recognition shows our packaging is important – manufacturers need it, consumers need it. It is bio-degradable and good for the environment,” said Fernando Plaza, Sales Manager, at Handary SA.

The Most Innovative Processing Solution was awarded to Bio World General Trading LLC for its Yogurt-Based Products, which prolong the shelf-life of living food products, while the ‘Top Futuristic Technology Future in Focus’ Award was taken by DC Norris & Company Ltd for its Multi In-Line Jet Cook Steam Infusion System.

“It’s quite amazing to the win this award, which underlines our commitment to product development. I think we were chosen for the award because our products cover everything the judges were looking for, from health and nutritional improvement to sustainability,” said Stoyan Nikolov, General Manager, Bio World General Trading. “Winning this award puts us out there and will help us take this into the market.”

The final award on the evening recognised companies’ efforts to improve their impact on the environment. It examined the best food processing technologies to support the wellbeing of the planet and its occupants, taking sustainability, energy efficiency, and a reduced carbon footprint into account. The award was presented to SIG Combibloc Obeikan FZCO for its Signature Pack, the world’s first aseptic pack 100% linked to plant-based renewable material.

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