During a press conference on June 15 at the Smallville hotel, the Lebanese Ministry of Economy and Trade and Fair-Trade Lebanon, in partnership with the Department of States’ Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) and under the auspice of BIEEL project announced the launching of Lebanon’s culinary nation branding promotional campaign aimed to support Lebanese agrifood exports. The event brought together key representatives of embassies, ministries, associations, chambers, food experts and food influencers. The Minister of Economy and Trade H.E. Amine Salam, president of FTL Samir Abdel Malak, and David Lewis, MEPI coordinator at the U.S. Embassy, delivered opening remarks.
The press conference featured a captivating documentary-video projection, allowing attendees to uncover the stories behind Lebanon’s wine, olive oil, sweets, and the authentic Mediterranean experience offered by its fruits and vegetables. The five promotional videos mark a significant milestone for BIEEL project in promoting Lebanon’s agrifood industry and supporting access to international export by elevating the visibility of its agrifood products.
The videos highlighting Lebanon’s rich gastronomy, culinary heritage, and savoir-faire will be promoted on several platforms to showcase the country’s exceptional high-quality products and will be passed to the Ministry of Economy and Trade as a designated promotional tool during international fairs and events.
During his speech, H.E. Salam emphasized the importance of Lebanon’s agrifood sector and its potential for economic growth and the ministry’s commitment to digitization, enhancing market access, attracting investment and fostering sustainable growth. His presence demonstrated the Lebanese government’s dedication to preserving and advancing the nation’s culinary heritage. He noted that the branding campaign marks a big step toward economic development and international recognition. This initiative positions Lebanon as a notable player on the global stage, appealing to international consumers, opening doors for export and supporting the agri-food sector. Lebtrade and Lebfresh platforms, which offer market information, trade rules and business prospects to exporters and importers, as well as promote Lebanese fresh produce internationally and link producers with consumers, are in alignment with and support this national branding. Consequently, the campaign highlights the excellence and diversity of Lebanese agricultural products. His presence demonstrated the Lebanese government’s commitment to preserving and promoting the nation’s illustrious culinary history.
Lewis commented: “We are excited to see our investment in this project facilitate Lebanon’s access to international markets. This project is just one in a long series of efforts to strengthen the bond between our nations, with U.S. support to Lebanon totaling nearly USD 3.8 billion since 2018 including security, humanitarian and economic development programs.”
Abdel Malak highlighted the ministry’s instrumental role in spearheading the BIEEL initiative and praised FTL’s team for its commitment to empowering local producers and SMEs within the agrifood sector. He also thanked the U.S. government and MEPI for their valuable support in funding initiatives with the Ministry of Economy and Trade within BIEEL project.
Zeina Tohme, senior communication and education consultant at Fair Trade Lebanon, engaged with the audience through a presentation of the Culinary Nation Branding strategy, stating: “The Culinary Nation Branding encapsulates the richness, diversity, and vibrant flavors of Lebanese gastronomy, creating a recognizable and compelling image that will resonate with audiences worldwide and promote export.”