There are no shortages of plant based meat (beef) brands in the UAE. By 2027, the global market for plant-based foods will exceed $38 billion according to  Market Research FutureĀ® (MRFR). Thousands of plant-based protein brands will be showcasing their products at  Gulfood  2023.

But what do UAE supermarkets actually have in terms of plant based meat, that influence the mainstream consumer? My own survery with  Badr Zemmama  showed a healthy segmentation of regional and international players.

Today regional food giants such as Kuwait’s Americana Foods  have a full fledged Nabati range, the UAE’s  Al Islami Foods  have their sunflower protein plant based burger, Saudi Arabia’s  Al Kabeer Group and even a traditional meat mortadella player  Siniora Food Industries‘ Badeel (literally meaning ‘Alternative’ in Arabic) have their own plant based meat ranges too.

While GCC players are diversifying their meat portfolio to include a plant based range, this year at Gulfood, the  IFFCO Group  is announcing their first 100% plant based meat range Thryve, which has invested in cutting-edge food technology to catalyse a sustainable shift in the food system.

Catching up with international players such as  Beyond Meat  from the US I found companies  Morning Star Foods (Kellogg Company), Australia’s  Coco & Lucas Kitchen‘s Earth Meals, the UK’s  Future Farm | Fazenda Futuro, The Meatless Farm and  VBites  on trend with roasts.

But all these products are a combination of soy and multiblend TVP with long ingredient lists.

For more clean label products, with minimal ingredients, I was pleasantly surprised to find  Quorn Foods  products in ready meal formats and  Better Nature‘s tempeh, showing an introduction to fermentation based meat, mycoprotein and biomass fermentation.

Despite the negative press towards plant based meat, it is positive to see a thriving ecosystem and open opportunities for more brands to enter the market.

However the lack of diversification of other meats such as chicken ( TiNDLE Foods  is currently only available in food services in the UAE) and seafood, as well as localised Arabic products, leaves a lot of room for new players to enter the UAE and GCC.


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