The boldest and brightest food and beverage innovators have been honoured at Gulfood 2022, the 27th edition of the world’s largest annual F&B sourcing event, for pushing the boundaries with breakthrough solutions to change the sector for the better.
This year’s edition of the Gulfood Innovation Awards was one of the most hotly contested editions to date, with more than 300 exhibitors, spanning 39 countries, eager to demonstrate solutions to answer sector challenges and set brave new benchmarks for an industry in the midst of rapid transformation.
“The sheer volume of entries this year underlines Gulfood’s status as the premier platform for bold industry players to unveil what they have been working on and use it as a springboard to demonstrate how they are rising to the challenge of driving the industry forward,” said Mark Napier, Show Director, Gulfood.
“The competition produced some of the most innovative submissions we have seen, and it was no easy task for the judges to select the winners. The level of innovation shows the F&B industry is in safe hands with so many companies sharing our goal to create and change the sector for the better.”
An expert panel of industry professionals were tasked with identifying winning innovations in eight categories: Most Innovative Beverage; Most Innovative Dairy Product; Most Innovative Frozen or Chilled Food; Most Innovative Halal Product; Most Innovative Organic Product; Most Innovative Health, Wellness & Plant-Based Product; Best Packaging Design Impact; and Most Impactful Sustainable Product.
Pushing the envelope of sustainability
In the sustainability categories, the 'Best Packaging Design Impact' award was handed to Tertulia Brugge S.A. for its San Marcos and San Ramon Single-serve drip coffee, which is housed in a compostable envelope and recyclable box. Meanwhile, homegrown UAE food and agri-business company Olam International Limited scooped the prize for the ‘Most Impactful Sustainable Product’ for its lightly salted almonds in composite canister packaging.
“Sustainable food product development is a cornerstone of Olam’s innovation. With innovation centres across the globe, we work closely with our partners to deliver on-trend, sustainable and tasty food products, and beverages. This product is made using sustainably grown almonds, we have implemented advanced beekeeping practices in Australia to protect the bee population and to naturally enhance the pollination of our almond orchards,” said Kamesh Ellajosyula, Chief Innovation Office, Olam Food Ingredients.
“To complement our sustainability practices, we also use solar energy, and our almonds are packed and marketed in composite, cost-effective, biodegradable and recyclable material, designed by our operations and technical packaging experts.”
Showing the way for health and wellness
Spinosi, the artisan homemade pasta producer from Italy, was recognised for its Fettuccine Zero+ product made from red lentil flour, which was named ‘Most Innovative Health, Wellness & Plant-Based Product’. Aimed at athletes and sports enthusiasts, the unique pasta has a place on the plate of health-conscious consumers thanks to its high protein and fibre content.
Marco Spinosi, owner of Spinosi, said: “Our high protein product is the perfect creation for our sporty customers and those who are gluten intolerant. This award further cements the product’s moto, ’Eat Healthy and Keep Fit’, and it means a lot to our brand to be recognised in such an international event. It gives great support for us to introduce other innovative products to the regional market.”
Latvia’s King Coffee Service Ltd was crowned winner in the ‘Most Innovative Beverage’ category for its Rocket Bean Roastery/Rudy’s Kombucha – a 100% keto, 99% coffee cold-brewed Kombucha. With zero alcohol content, the coffee is also 100% halal. French innovation came to the fore in the ‘Most Innovative Frozen or Chilled Product’ category, with KOKIRIKI recognised for its Veg-Toona, a 100% vegan tuna with all the flavour and fibrous aspects of fresh seafood.
The NZMP Organic Butter Carbonzero™, from Fonterra, was named the ‘Most Innovative Dairy Product,’ underscoring the New Zealand brand’s pioneering F&B efforts. The award for the ‘Most Innovative Organic Product’ meanwhile, was scooped up by the International Trade Centre for its Watermelon seed oil in capsules.
“As one of the key, most competitive, international food sourcing events, Gulfood is an outstanding business hub. Participating here as an exhibitor and, moreover, winning Most Innovative Organic Product Award, allows our watermelon seed oil in capsules to receive tremendous publicity through the right business channels,” said Viktor Sidorenko, Director Vesta Lider LLC, partner of the Association of Kherson Watermelon Producers, which is part of the International Trade Centre collective.
Portugal’s Carob World Portugal, LDA, which champions carob-based products, was honoured with the ‘Most Innovative Halal Product’ award for its Carob Syrup BIO, an iron, calcium, and potassium rich ingredient.
The Gulfood Innovation Awards 2022 were assessed by a panel of industry veterans: Lianne Walsh, Founder of Palm PR; Jane Barraclough, Founder of Yalla Magazine; F&B journalist and consultant Claudia De Britto; Abu Dhabi chef Faisal Naser, Founder of Lento; and Vineetha Sony, Head of Trade Advisory Services, OCO Global.