Homegrown foodtech startup puts UAE at forefront of sustainability

Homegrown foodtech startup puts UAE at forefront of sustainability
From left, Edward Hamod, Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri and Abdullah Al-Hameli.
Short Url
Updated 29 April 2023

Homegrown foodtech startup puts UAE at forefront of sustainability

Homegrown foodtech startup puts UAE at forefront of sustainability

Homegrown foodtech startup Switch Foods has announced the successful launch of Abu Dhabi’s first state-of-the-art exclusive plant-based meat production facility, located at KEZAD, Abu Dhabi.

Inaugurated in the presence of Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, minister of climate change and environment of the UAE, the cutting-edge facility represents a significant milestone for the UAE’s burgeoning plant-based food industry, aligning with the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy 2051, which aims to promote food security through sustainable innovations and diversified food sources.

Almheiri 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 recognizing that global food systems account for over a fourth of greenhouse gas emissions. Plant-based meat generates 30 to 90 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional meat and contributes to a more sustainable food supply.”

She added: “The inauguration of Switch Foods’ facility is timely as we celebrate the Year of Sustainability and prepare to host COP28 later this year. 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 100 percent GMO-free, soy-free, allergen-free, gluten-free, vegan, and halal-certified product lineup includes kabab, kafta, sujuk, minced meat and burger patties.

Saeed Al-Bahri Al-Ameri, director general of Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority, welcomed the establishment of the facility, stressing its importance in increasing local production to fulfill consumers’ demand for protein by providing alternative sources to animal meat.

Abdullah Al-Hameli, CEO of Economic Cities and Free Zones, AD Ports Group, said: “It is a proud moment for us at AD Ports Group and KEZAD to be adding an innovative venture like Switch Foods to our well-developed food ecosystem. 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 minimizing our reliance on food imports.”

According to statista.com, the value of meat-substitute products in the UAE is rising, growing annually by 27.19 percent (CAGR 2023-2027). With this robust trajectory, Switch Foods is ideally positioned to meet the UAE’s demand for plant-based meat alternatives.

Edward Hamod, founder and CEO of Switch Foods, said: “We aim to lead the transition to sustainable food systems by introducing localized,
innovative plant-based meat alternatives that are healthier for both the environment and consumers. Switch Foods’ new facility is a testament to the company’s dedication to providing sustainable food solutions and aligns with the UAE’s Year of Sustainability initiative and the country’s COP28 objectives.”

Switch Foods’ facility in KEZAD spans a 20,000 square feet plot and includes built-to-order equipment from leading global technology providers, a high-tech laboratory, an innovation center, cold storage areas, preparation areas, logistics areas and offices.