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Food entrepreneur Helene Raudaschl began practicing a flexitarian diet a year ago when she became increasingly aware of the ethical and environmental impact of meat consumption. It was on this journey when she noticed a gap in the market when it came to sustainable alternatives for traditional meat-filled dishes that represent the centrepiece of many international cuisines. That’s when the idea for Arlene started – a new kitchen providing delicious plant-based, sustainable ready meals created by global gourmet chefs that deliver on taste above all else.
“My son who is a 20-year-old athlete inspired me to start a partially vegan diet last year. He shared how that has been very influential in his well being in health and his belief how consuming less animal protein can contribute to the world’s betterment of the environment,” Raudaschl, who leads Indoguna, the established meat distributor with operations across Asia and the Middle East, told Green Queen.
“With that, I started my research and discussion with various people in this field. That’s how we started the R&D for Arlene.”
While the new Dubai-based brand, which marks the first fully plant-based and 100%-Halal ready meal provider to land in the Middle East, is ideal for vegans, it crucially taps into the rising flexitarian trend, especially long-time meat-lovers who are now looking to reduce their meat consumption but are struggling to find alternatives that offer the same culinary experience.
My son who is a 20-year-old athlete inspired me to start a partially vegan diet last year. He shared how that has been very influential in his well being in health and his belief how consuming less animal protein can contribute to the world’s betterment of the environment.Helene Raudaschl, Founder of Arlene
Partnering with gourmet chefs, Arlene’s kitchen, an extension of Indoguna’s operations in UAE, has created a selection of convenient and internationally-inspired artisanal plant-based ready meals, from kebabs with biryani rice to dan dan noodles, burritos, gyozas and more.
“We are also partnering with key plant-based meat alternatives companies to develop the range of meals solutions that represents meat inspired global cuisine dishes,” explains Raudaschl, naming OmniPork, the vegan pork mince analogue developed by Hong Kong-based Green Monday’s food tech arm OmniFoods, as one of the alternative protein producers Arlene is working with.
Beyond the Middle East, the plant-based ready meal brand is set to launch in other markets too, including in Asia, Europe and North America as key international regions for expansion.
I set out to create a brand that can reach out to a much more multicultural world.Helene Raudaschl, Founder of Arlene
Particularly amid the coronavirus pandemic, the business opportunity is huge. Consumers have been adopting plant-based foods more than ever before as health and food safety become priority concerns, and the awareness of the vulnerability of the conventional meat supply chain grows. Impossible Foods, the Silicon Valley-based food tech behind the famous plant-based Impossible Burger, says recently reported that the number of first-time customers has been doubling every single month since the first peak of the pandemic struck in the U.S. in April.
But not every meat-lover’s food craving is a burger. “I set out to create a brand that can reach out to a much more multicultural world,” said Raudaschl. From vegan kibbeh to crystal dumplings, spaghetti bolognese and tom yum spring rolls, Raudaschl promises her brand’s new offerings will taste “as great as our meat- filled counterparts.”
All images courtesy of Arlene.