The highlight of AFID2023 was the highly anticipated Agrifood Innovation Award, a prestigious recognition that celebrated groundbreaking innovations within Lebanon’s agrifood sector.
Under the patronage of H.E. George Boujikian, Minister of Industry of Lebanon, this esteemed award showcased the remarkable achievements of agrifood manufacturers and their invaluable contributions to the industry.
During this momentous occasion, QOOT Cluster further solidified its position as a trailblazer in agrifood innovation, solidifying its authority and influence.
The evening began with an impactful opening speech delivered by H.E. Hans Peter van der Woude, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Netherlands to Lebanon, setting the stage for a night filled with anticipation and celebration. His words echoed the spirit of innovation and collaboration that defines QOOT Cluster’s vision, inspiring all in attendance.
Taking the spotlight, Dr. Marc Bou Zeidan, QOOT Cluster manager, delivered an energetic presentation introducing the concept and details of the award. His passion and enthusiasm ignited the room, fostering a collective admiration for the remarkable accomplishments of the participating companies.
The winners, eagerly awaited, were announced across six distinguished categories, each representing a specific area of agrifood excellence. These victors served as shining examples of innovation, quality, and impact, showcasing the best of Lebanon’s agrifood industry. The winning products and companies for each category were as follows:
- Alcoholic Beverage Category: Zaatar Liqueur by The Good Thymes. This Liqueur captivated both the jury and attendees with its unique blend of traditional Lebanese flavors and innovative mixology. This exquisite creation showcases the rich heritage of Lebanon’s agrifood industry and its potential for transforming traditional ingredients into exceptional, internationally acclaimed products.
- Baked Goods & Snacks Category: The Original Hummus Bar by Grapeful. This Bar captured hearts and taste buds with its delectable and nutritious offerings. This innovative take on a beloved classic represents the epitome of Lebanese culinary expertise, pushing the boundaries of traditional flavors and textures to create a truly unforgettable snacking experience.
- Health & Wellbeing Products Category: Kids Bites by Bazco Group – Raw Bites. Kids Bites is a wholesome and nutritious snack designed specifically for children. This innovative product embodies the commitment to promoting health and well-being among young consumers while providing a convenient and delicious solution for parents seeking nutritious options for their children.
- Non-alcoholic Beverage Products Category: Tearapy Functional Tea by Triana. Their Tea mesmerized the audience with its rejuvenating and health-enhancing properties. This carefully crafted blend of natural ingredients presents a delightful and refreshing alternative for those seeking a beverage that nurtures the body and soul. Triana’s commitment to quality and innovation shines through in every sip.
- Pantry Products Category: Del Libano Lasagna by Del Libano S.A.L. claimed victory in the Pantry Products Category with their Lasagna pasta layers. Crafted with love and attention to detail, this component has been reinvented to offer a wholesome alternative to commercial and processed pasta.
- Refrigerated & Chilled Products Category: Mushrooms Ravioli by Gudtolli garnered well-deserved recognition for its culinary excellence and gastronomic innovation.
Amid Lebanon’s economic recovery, AFID2023 served as a delightful reminder of the Lebanese spirit and our innate ability to pioneer innovation. It was truly a pleasure to witness the coming together of the local and international scenes, reintroducing them to the essence of Lebanese entrepreneurship. The event showcased the resilience and creativity of our entrepreneurs, reaffirming their crucial role in driving our country’s progress. AFID2023 has undoubtedly reignited the spark of inspiration and hope for a thriving agrifood industry in Lebanon.Brahms “Daddy Foody” Chouity, Serial Entrepreneur & Social Influencer
In recognition of their achievements, the winners received an array of prizes prepared by QOOT and its partners:
- Trophy & Certificate: The trophy, symbolizing agrifood innovation, was designed and manufactured in Berytech’s FabLab. Its unique design featured a top part 3D-printed from a sugar cane base, representing side stream valorization. In contrast, the bottom part was crafted from cruelty-free Lebanese wood, embodying the originality rooted in Lebanon.
- Membership: Winners were granted a one-year free membership in the QOOT Cluster, along with free-of-charge access to one QOOT activity of their choice.
- Voucher: Recognizing the importance of research and development, winners received a USD 3000 voucher for laboratory analyses, allowing them to enhance their products further.
- Winner’s Seal: An official digital seal was awarded for the winning product, providing an esteemed mark of distinction.
- Showcasing and Exclusive Offers: The winning products were showcased in select Spinneys Lebanon outlets, and featured in an “innovation booth,” accompanied by exclusive offers from Spinneys.
- Capacity Building Training: Winners had the opportunity to receive capacity building training delivered by Fattal Group, with potential distribution agreements.
- First-Year ISO 22000:2018 Certificate Audit: Ahead Inspection Lebanon (AIL) provided winners with a first-year ISO 22000:2018 certificate audit, ensuring adherence to international food safety standards.
“It was inspiring to witness the participants embracing their culinary roots and prioritizing the use of natural ingredients in their production. This commitment not only highlights their dedication to quality, but it also empowers consumers to prepare nourishing and wholesome meals in the comfort of their own homes.”Nicole Maftoum, Entrepreneur, Dietitian, Food blogger and home cook
The jury, consisting of field experts, played a crucial role in meticulously assessing and shortlisting the exceptional products. Their expertise and discerning judgments were instrumental in determining the deserving winners, adding credibility and prestige to the Agrifood Innovation Award at AFID2023. The panel included:
- Alejandro Rodarte: Senior Policy Manager, FoodDrinkEurope
- Brahms “Daddy Foody” Chouity: Serial Entrepreneur & Social Influencer
- Hassan Ezzeldine: Chairman of Gray Mackenzie Retail Lebanon
- Joseph Matta: Professor / Applied Research and Testing Director, Industrial Research Institute (IRI)
- Mohamad Abiad: Director, Laboratories for the Environment, Agriculture, & Food (LEAF) / Professor & Coordinator, Food Science & Management Program
- Nicole Maftoum: Entrepreneur, Dietitian, Food blogger, and Home cook
- Sally El Armaly Yacoub: Head of Food & Beverage at Fattal Group
The partners who made the award possible are the American University of Beirut Laboratories for the Environment, Agriculture, and Food, the Industrial Research Institute, Gray Mackenzie, Spinneys, and Fattal. Their generous support in recognizing and empowering the ingenuity of Lebanese agrifood innovators enriched the Award.