QOOT Cluster organized the Lebanese pavilion at the first version of the Abu Dhabi International Food Exhibition (ADIFE) in collaboration with the Lebanese embassy in the United Arab Emirates. Under the theme of “Lebanon, the small country with big delights,” the campaign aimed to shed light on the hidden treasures of the Lebanese agrifood sector and create trade opportunities for its participating members in one of the largest food exhibitions in the world.
The pavilion hosted 15 innovative QOOT cluster members looking for expansion opportunities in the GCC and the world. At the same time, more than 25 international buyers visited the pavilion with a high interest in Lebanese products. Exhibiting members had the chance to match with those buyers through an online portal created by the exhibition organizers. QOOT Cluster manager, Dr. Marc Bou Zeidan, was also part of the ADIFE speaker line-up. The managing partner of Leb Genco Olive Oil, Wissam Kaakour, established a new point of sale in the Abu Dhabi branch of the Stouff Beirut restaurant before the exhibition was over.
Attending exhibitions like ADIFE is an opportunity to gain brand awareness at scale, meet potential clients, and capitalize on cost-effective marketing.Wissam Kaakour, the managing partner and operations manager of Lebanese Genco Olive Oil
Crumble Confections, one of the exhibitors in the Lebanese pavilion, is a confectionery and chocolate factory established in 1984. They specialize primarily in white labeling and business-to-business deals. Fadi Iskandar, their CEO, reported many beneficial meetings and some serious potential business deals in the making. He also felt grateful to QOOT for organizing the pavilion and planned to take maximum advantage of the opportunity. Min Baladeh, the UAE’s go-to online store for Lebanese products, also met with many Lebanese exhibitors, and some of their products are now in the process of being listed on the Min Baladeh website.
A Lebanese Rally at ADIFE
The Lebanese diaspora never ceases to amaze. The pavilion received visits from many Lebanese who live in Abu Dhabi, while some drove from Dubai to show their support. Lebanese Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, HE Mr. Fouad Dandan, and his economic attaché Mr. Jean-Claude Khoury were first on the scene. They toured the pavilion and spent time talking to QOOT members, trying their products, and taking photos to help with promoting them to their following.
I was impressed to see the neat packaging, innovative products, and good prices that might create a competitive offering in the UAE market. The Lebanese diaspora enjoys its national cuisine and plays a big role in creating demand for these products.Jean-Claude Khoury, economic attaché at the Lebanese embassy in UAE.
Lebanese restaurant critic and assessor Firas Kazma, also known as CEO Street Food, intensively covered his tour with stories to his followers. He also brought friends and other food influencers along. Owner of the Stouff Beirut restaurant chain, chef Sharbel Akiki did not only cover the event but invited the Lebanese delegation to his Abu Dhabi branch for a delightful evening featuring his signature Lebanese fusion dishes with an energetic live show of Arabic songs. TV host and scriptwriter of the Yalla Social show, Rony Mhanna from Abu Dhabi TV, also broadcasted the activities to his following.
UAE-based Lebanese chef Marwan Abi Daoud took his contribution to another level. He volunteered to tour the pavilion with QOOT’s communication team and utilized his 25 years of experience evaluating Lebanese products and giving constructive feedback to their respective producers. During his tour, chef Abi Daoud was keen on promoting those products and encouraging restaurants to use them in their dishes, highlighting their added value in terms of taste and quality.
We Have a Winner
Proving that Lebanese food production is a gold standard, gourmet food producer Eshmoon Holistics won the first prize for innovation in the category of Honey and Dates at the ADIFE exhibition.
Everyone is an innovator as long they are connected inward and outward. This allows them to understand their reality, evaluate their resources, and, most importantly, understand that it’s in man’s nature to create and add his touch to life. Regarding food production, Lebanon’s rich biodiversity opens the door to creating innovative combinations and products. The only thing that can stop someone from creating is the fear of failure or judgment from a failed product, which throws them into conformity.Samer Toutounji, CEO of Eshmoon Holistics
When asked about the benefit of joining the QOOT Cluster, Toutounji assured that being in an environment where innovation is supported, cherished, and advanced creates a robust community that allows its members to tap into the uncharted synergy created from different perspectives. “QOOT is a good melting pot for creators and innovators to upgrade their game, find their market, and export their products beyond the Lebanese borders. The spirit of cooperation and culture of trust is missing in our country, and QOOT gave us those back, for which we feel very grateful.”
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