|16 February, 2019

A Mediterranean diet could curb health risks

Mediterranean diet is step towards healthier lifestyles

Image used for illustrative purpose.

Image used for illustrative purpose.

REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Boasting one of the largest Pavilions at Gulfood, around 200 Italian participants will bring the authentic taste of Italy to Dubai and showcase an assortment of quality dry and canned products.

"The Italian Trade Agency will be present with a dedicated Food Lab, with a scope to promote and educate visitors and professionals about Italian agri-food products; share culinary expertise through a series of cooking shows assisted by famous Dubai-based Italian chefs to highlight these products and their correct usage; host seminars about Italian food products; assist Italian exhibitors through services such as the organisation of B2B meetings with local distributors, and advertise via specialised food magazines and daily newspapers, as done every year," said Gianpaolo Bruno, Italian Trade Commissioner to the UAE, Oman and Pakistan.

This year, visitors can sample Italy's finest grains, pulses, flours, pasta, rice, dairy products, canned produce, jams and juices, bread and baking, biscuits, sweets and snacks, seafood, oils and fats, condiments such as vinegar, coffee and other beverages. Several consortia will also be present, notably cheese producers, associations and groups.

Bruno revealed that the Agency has been participating in the F&B-dedicated exhibition since 2010 and utilises the platform to raise awareness about the genuineness of Italian ingredients and the stringent regulations that Italian companies follow within the value chain and logistics.

"There may be a premium involved in the cost, but it is worthwhile. In addition to assured quality, our campaign is focusing on promoting the Mediterranean diet as a step towards healthier lifestyles. The cooking style and ingredients are said to reduce the risk of heart problems, and diseases and deficiencies caused by disproportionate eating plans.

There is also evidence that the life expectancy of people who eat Mediterranean cuisine is statistically longer than others," he said, adding that Gulfood provides an ideal platform to educate, train and reach out to a wider audience.

'Made in Italy' - an ongoing campaign

To date, the Italian food industry has 58,000 companies for an aggregate turnover of 133 billion euros, leading the food sector to reconfirm its position as one of the pillars of the Italian production systems, said Bruno.

"The 'Made in Italy' is a tool in the battle to protect Italy's production system from forgery of authentic products, which is considered a dangerous threat to the industry, to the consumer and the country's economy as well. The programme helps highlight the unique qualities of Italian produce and tackle counterfeit products from competing with original goods," he added.

The concept is in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Agriculture and other entities that designed several actions centred on Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Indication of Geographic Protection (IGP) branded products.

The PDO label guarantees that an agri-food product is produced, processed and packaged in a specific geographical zone and according to tradition. Each step - from production to packaging - is regulated. The IGP label shows that the quality or reputation of food or condiment is linked to the place or region where it is produced, processed or prepared.

On route to 2020

The year 2019 is a crucial year, said Bruno, as Expo 2020 is fast approaching with an estimated 25 million visitors, with around 70 per cent coming from overseas.

"This represents a wonderful occasion to present the best available Italian food recipes and ingredients, particularly in the Ho.Re.Ca. (Hotels, Restaurants and Cafe) channel. We will therefore double our efforts to strengthen our promotional activities in order to lay the ground to allow Italian companies to reap the opportunities of this mega-event. We will intensify the use of marketing tools to create awareness and spread the benefits of genuine Italian ingredients and Mediterranean diet for a healthy lifestyle," said Bruno.

Why choose Italian ingredients?

Italy is rich in water, soil and sun, and has the historical know-how for the production of foods that are highly nutrient and very high in quality with exceptional flavour. It is known to be tasty and healthy due to the consciousness and care that farmers and packers practice to ensure genuineness, cleanliness from pesticides, antibiotics and growth hormones, lower levels of nitrates. This infuses the products with nutrients and anti-oxidant quality, which reduces risks on child and adult health.

Italian Trade Agency

The Italian Trade Agency plays a major role in boosting Italian food exports all over the world by the implementation of several tools and strategies such as: organise Italian participation in international exhibitions and major events related to the food sector, recruit international buyers to incoming missions to Italy, collaborate with regions and associations to facilitate and encourage the Italian producer strategy when entering new markets, supply Italian companies with updated market information, highlight the exquisiteness and Italian culinary expertise; and several scouting activities, etc.

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