Abu Dhabi Foodies Can Now Feast On Locally Made Plant-Based Kebabs, Koftas & Soujouks
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Months after Switch Foods inaugurated Abu Dhabi’s first plant-based meat manufacturing facility, consumers can now find its vegan kebabs, minced meat and burgers at retailers across the capital. It comes in the UAE’s Year of Sustainability, where it pledged to promote plant-based foods, and is hosting the UN climate summit COP28, which is confirmed to serve mostly vegan food.
In April, Switch opened a 20,000 sq ft facility in Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa Industrial Zone – the first to make vegan meat alternatives in the city. Now, it’s launching the nation’s first locally produced vegan products into the retail market.
Switch’s lineup includes kebabs, koftas, soujouks, minced meat and burger patties in varying sizes, with all products being GMO-, soy- and gluten-free. The range is allergen-friendly and halal-certified, and can be found at retailers including Carrefour, Organic Food Café, Grandiose, Geant, Union Coop, Sharjah Coop, Al Maya, Abella and Spinneys in Abu Dhabi. Switch’s products are also available on online platforms like Talabat, Careem, Kibsons and Noon.
A 250g pack of minced meat costs 14 AED ($3.81), while a 240g pack of the soujouk is priced at 19 AED ($5.17). Meanwhile, a four-pack of burger patties is 34 AED ($9.26), and 240g of kebab meat comes to 20 AED ($5.45). These prices, while not super cheap, are still affordable when compared to imported plant-based meat.
Switch founder and CEO Edward Hamod said: “It has been a true pleasure to witness the excitement and willingness of the leadership and management of prominent retailers and online platforms across the UAE to support locally produced and sustainable foods like the ones we produce at Switch Foods.”
Plant-based boom in the UAE
2023 is also the UAE’s Year of Sustainability, part of which is a push to promote plant-based eating in the country. Later this year, the UAE will also host COP28, and it has famously announced that this year’s conference will serve predominantly plant-based food.
The company’s launch, along with COP28’s decision, is in line with consumer sentiment in the UAE – 44% of its residents are open to substituting meat and dairy with vegan alternatives.
The country has already seen multiple overseas plant-based producers enter the market in recent years. In 2021, US giant Impossible Foods made its Middle East debut at Dubai World Expo, while Singapore-based TiNDLE also launched in this region for the first time at 20 UAE restaurants.
Neighboring nation Saudi Arabia has also been actively promoting more plant-based foods – officials from the Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture are co-developing alt-protein products with locally sourced plants.