Emmanuel Kamarianakis, Canadian Consul-General in Dubai, and Dinesh K. Pagrani, Director Choitrams.
Dubai: Savouring a premium quality Canadian beef steak or chomping on some Maple Leaf cookies from home just got a lot easier for an estimated 40,000 Canadian expats living across the UAE.
After years of limited availability of made-in-Canada food brands in the UAE, a wealth of sought-after Canadian staples ranging from lobster and salmon to world-class steak and maple syrup have arrived in the emirates thanks to a new celebration of food.
As part of this year’s Canada 150 celebrations in the UAE to mark the 150th anniversary of Canada’s July 1, 1867 birth of Confederation, one of Canada’s senior diplomats in the UAE kicked off the Canadian Goodness Festival at Choithrams in Dubai on Wednesday.
Emmanuel Kamarianakis, Consul-General at Consulate General of Canada to Dubai and the Northern Emirates, launched the fest at the supermarket in Green Community East.
“This is a wonderful way for us to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary by bringing more than 300 Canadian products to UAE consumers,” Kamarianakis told a small group at the launch. “These products represent 18 different brands, the vast majority of which are new to the UAE which means the event is truly a launch of Canadian food and beverage on the market.
“We are one of the world’s largest agriculture product exporters and in 2016, we exported more than C$700 million of agriculture, agrifood and seafood products to the UAE,” Kamarianakis said.
The celebration was sponsored by well-known Canadian household names such as Tim Horton’s and Air Canada.
In a statement, L.T. Pagarani, chairman of Choithrams, said he is glad to offer the festival food line-up to meet customer demands.
“Our focus has always been towards offering unique and exciting concepts and promotions … Keeping in mind the consumers’ needs and demands, our constant endeavour has been to stay abreast with trends and we continue to provide them with a modern approach to shopping,” Pagarani said.
“This partnership with the Canadian Consulate will help us not just boost our business relations but also evoke our customers’ faith in their range of food products,” he said.
The festival runs till March 6 but product lines from the “Great White North” will continue on offer permanently.
Given difficulties securing Canadian-made foodstuffs abroad, the addition of Canadian products is expected to be greeted with enthusiasm by 25,000 Canadian expats living in Dubai and another 15,000 said to be living in Abu Dhabi.
In addition to a raft of new household goods now on offer from Canadian producers, one of the highlights will be the addition of freshly butchered Canadian beef products in the grocery chain.
Robert Serapiglia, director of innovation with Canada Beef, was on hand for the launch. He told the gathering that Canadian beef now being imported into the UAE is halal and does not contain any added hormones.
He noted that the Angus-based brand of beef stems from Canada’s “stringent world-class programmes that go with a world-class product”.