Sustainable and Satisfying: Abu Dhabi's New Plant-Based Meat Production Facility
Abu Dhabi is taking a step towards a more sustainable future with the inauguration of its first plant-based meat production facility. Homegrown foodtech start-up, Switch Food, aims to provide a wholesome alternative to conventional meat products without compromising on taste.
Abu Dhabi has taken a major step towards creating a more sustainable food system by opening its first state-of-the-art plant-based meat production facility in KEZAD. The facility will start producing food products, including vegan and halal-certified kebab, kafta, sujuk, minced meat and burger patties, which are 100% free of genetically modified organisms (GMO), soy, allergens, and gluten.
The innovative facility, which is built on a 20,000 square feet plot of land, is a homegrown food tech start-up, Switch Foods, and aims to provide a wholesome alternative to conventional meat products without compromising on taste. The company said the opening of the plant-based meat production facility is set to boost food security, sustainability and climate action efforts in Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE.
According to Switch Foods, the plant-based meat products generated 30 to 90% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional meat and contribute to a more sustainable food supply. The innovative facility was inaugurated by Mariam bint Mohammed AlMheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment.
Speaking about the impact of such facilities, the minister said, "The food and agriculture sector faces the critical challenge of climate change. We must ensure a healthy and reliable food supply for our people while recognising that global food systems account for over a fourth of greenhouse gas emissions. Plant-based meat generates 30 to 90 per cent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional meat and contributes to a more sustainable food supply."
AlMheiri added that the opening of the plant-based meat production facility is significant because it is happening in the Year of Sustainability, and the UAE is preparing to host the COP28 climate change conference. "Our track-record will speak volumes to the world as we focus on a solutions-COP that outlines realistic action for mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, and climate finance. The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment is accelerating national efforts by identifying critical areas of action, with food production being a core pillar," she said.
The UAE's move towards plant-based meat alternatives is part of a growing trend globally. According to Statista.com, the value of meat-substitute products in the UAE is rising, growing annually by 27.19%. Saeed Al Bahri Al Ameri, Director General of Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority, said it is essential to increase local production to fulfil consumers' demand for protein by providing alternative sources to animal meat.
Abdullah Al Hameli, CEO of Economic Cities and Free Zones at AD Ports Group, said the plant-based meat production facility is a crucial part of the UAE's aim to become a world leader in food security by 2051. "Innovation and sustainability are key components of our strategic aim of making the UAE the world leader in food security by 2051, with the support of our visionary leadership. Companies like Switch Foods go a long way in supporting this aim of minimising our reliance on food imports," he said.
The opening of the plant-based meat production facility is not the first time the UAE has made significant strides in creating a more sustainable food system. Last month, the IFFCO Group opened the first 100% plant-based meat factory in the region in Dubai. The UAE's commitment to plant-based meat alternatives is part of the country's broader sustainability efforts, as it aims to become a global leader in sustainability by 2050.
Edward Hamod, founder and CEO of Switch Foods, said the company's aim is to lead the transition to sustainable food systems by introducing localised, innovative plant-based meat alternatives that are healthier for both the environment and consumers. The innovative facility's opening is a significant milestone for Abu Dhabi's sustainability efforts, and it is hoped that other regions around the world will follow suit in promoting plant-based food development.
As the world faces the critical challenge of climate change, the food and agriculture sector must play its part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and ensuring a more sustainable future. Plant-based meat is a crucial part of this effort, as it generates significantly fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional meat.
Switch Foods and other companies like it are leading the way towards a more sustainable and ethical food system. By investing in sustainable food production and innovation, they are helping to create a world where food is produced in a way that is healthy for people and the planet. As the demand for plant-based meat continues to grow, we can expect to see more companies like Switch Foods opening up new production facilities around the world.
Switch Foods’ commitment to producing plant-based meat that is free of GMOs, soy, allergens, and gluten is a testament to the growing demand for sustainable and ethical food production. As the world faces the critical challenge of climate change, the food and agriculture sector must play its part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and ensuring a more sustainable future. Plant-based meat is a crucial part of this effort, and companies like Switch Foods are leading the way towards a more sustainable and ethical food system.