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First plant-based meat production facility inaugurated in Abu Dhabi

April 30, 2023

Abu Dhabi’s first plant-based meat production facility has been inaugurated. The new Switch Foods facility in KEZAD will start producing food products from 1 May, which company Founder & CEO, Edward Hamod, says are free of GMOs, soy, allergens and gluten.

Items produced at the new operation will include kebab, kafta, sujuk, minced meat and burger patties. As well as being vegan, they will be halal-certified. This diverse range highlights Switch Foods' commitment to celebrating and preserving regional culinary traditions while providing an enticing and wholesome alternative to conventional meat products without compromising on taste.

The opening of the 20,000ft2 facility is set to boost food security, sustainability and climate action efforts, the company said.

Present at the facility's inauguration was Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment. “The food and agriculture sector faces the critical challenge of climate change" she said, speaking about the impact of such facilities. "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 30-90% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional meat and contributes to a more sustainable food supply.”

The Minister pointed out the new facility has been opened in the Year of Sustainability and as the nation prepares to host COP28 climate change conference, from 30 November to 12 December.

“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," she said. "The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment is accelerating national efforts by identifying critical areas of action, with food production being a core pillar."

'We are investing in a thriving ecosystem that fosters innovation and growth through partnerships and investments in sustainable food production. This project embodies the spirit of public-private collaboration and ingenuity necessary to achieve our food security and climate action objectives.”

Last month, the IFFCO Group opened the first 100% plant-based meat factory in the region, in Dubai.

Saeed Al Bahri Al Ameri, Director General of Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority, stressed on the importance of increasing local production to fulfil consumers' demand for protein by providing alternative sources to animal meat.

“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," added Abdullah Al Hameli, CEO, Economic Cities and Free Zones, AD Ports Group. "Companies such as Switch Foods go a long way in supporting this aim of minimising our reliance on food imports.”

“We are excited to launch our game-changing plant-based meat production facility in KEZAD, Abu Dhabi, marking a significant milestone in our journey to transform the way people consume food in the UAE and their perception of plant-based meat," concluded Hamod. "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. We are immensely grateful for the support of H.E. Mariam bint Mohammed AlMheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment of the UAE, H.E. Saeed Al Bahri Al Amri, Director General, Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA), and remain committed to positively impacting people’s lives and the environment through conscious food choices.”

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