Middle East's first all-plant-based meat processing plant opens in Dubai

Dubai today witnessed the opening of the first all-plant-based meat processing plant in the Middle East under the Thrive brand, which will pave the way for the development of the production and consumption of this food product category in the UAE and the wider region.

The opening of the new factory comes within the framework of Dubai's food security strategy aimed at enhancing local production, food safety and nutrition systems, and enhancing the sector's ability to face crises, and the new label supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the National Food Security Strategy 2051, which aims to enhance the food security system through diversification and innovation.

The plant, the first of its kind to manufacture all-plant-based meat, is a pioneering and innovative project in the region, offering healthy and sustainable plant-based meats, locally made with different flavors inspired by the healthy and diverse cuisine of the Middle East.

Strategic Direction

Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said: "The UAE has a strategic orientation towards enhancing its food security and facing all the challenges represented by the shortage of agricultural land and water scarcity, which leads to a shortage of local food production and the import of large quantities by the UAE from abroad. The UAE has launched the National Food Security Strategy, and one of its most important goals is to increase local food production and develop infrastructure to enhance the entire food value chain, increase the UAE's attractiveness for investments in the food sector, and adopt the latest modern agricultural technologies in order to transform the UAE into a global hub for food security based on innovation."

"As COP28 approaches in the UAE and the Year of Sustainability, the UAE is taking concrete steps to address the effects of climate change, promote food diversity and support the development of sustainable food production processes. The opening of the region's first all-plant-based meat factory in the UAE is an important step towards strengthening the industry and promoting food diversity and sustainable production within the country."

"Animal-sourced food industries, especially red meat and dairy products, emit the most severe greenhouse gases. Therefore, COP28 is an ideal platform for us to showcase our vision and commitment to enhance our food security and meet the UAE's commitments on climate change. As we work to create a more sustainable future for the UAE and the world, we will continue our efforts in this regard in collaboration with our various partners to achieve our common goals."

Sustainable Solutions

Hadi Badri, CEO of Dubai Economic Development Corporation (DEEC), an agency of the Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), said: "The opening of this factory paves the way for a dynamic new industry that will boost trade between the countries of the region, reflecting the UAE's commitment to investing in technology and innovative technologies to provide sustainable solutions to global challenges. This step is also a milestone in Dubai's economic diversification journey in line with the objectives of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 to strengthen its position as one of the top three economic cities in the world."

Badri added: "As advanced food technology is driving the green economy and shaping the future of sustainable manufacturing, this new facility for IFFCO Group is a testament to Dubai's pivotal role in establishing sound environmental practices and ensuring its growth to contribute to mitigating the effects of climate change. Accelerating the creation of a green and sustainable economy by providing opportunities for the private sector to invest in sustainable technologies."

Badri stressed that such initiatives enhance the emirate's attractive environment for more companies and investors, and also contribute to providing new job opportunities, which is reflected in economic growth in general, noting that by focusing attention on sustainable manufacturing, the UAE in general and Dubai in particular will continue to cooperate with various partners to maintain its distinguished position and lead the scene of innovation and sustainable economy, based on the inspiring and ambitious vision of our wise leadership to provide a better future for all.

A leading destination

Saud Abu Al-Shawareb, Executive Vice President of TECOM Group – Industrial Sector, said: "Food security is a top priority for the UAE, in line with the National Food Security Strategy 2051 and the Dubai Economic Agenda D33. As a leading destination for major manufacturing and logistics companies from around the world, we are delighted to see IFFCO Group's expansion into the Dubai Industrial City (DIZAD) dedicated to the food and beverage sector and the launch of its new plant-based meat processing plant under the Thrive™️ brand, enhancing the sustainability of the UAE's food security, self-sufficiency and resource sustainability."

The launch of the Thrive plant-based food project is in line with IFFCO Group's global vision to invest in the future by researching the latest food production technologies that benefit the UAE and contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including good health and well-being, responsible consumption and production, and climate action.

Innovative Solutions

Shiraz Alana, Honorary Member of the IFFCO Group, said: "Since its inception, IFFCO Global Group has been characterized by innovation in various fields of its work, which qualifies it to drive a radical change in consumer habits, reflecting the continuous changes in their quest for healthier and more diverse nutrient options, especially after the repercussions imposed by the Corona pandemic, which prompted many individuals and government agencies to search for innovative ways to localize value and supply chains."

"The opening of this factory comes at the right time as sustainability is everyone's top priority, especially as the UAE has declared 2023 as the Year of Sustainability, and we are working in line with the country's directives to deliver on our commitments to develop innovative solutions that benefit current and future generations to build a more sustainable future.

As the first plant-based meat manufacturer in the Middle East, Thrive uses advanced food technologies to provide healthy, sustainable foods adapted to the region's tastes and culture, to meet the needs of the local consumer. IFFCO International works closely with the government to develop and define standards that regulate the production of plant-based foods.

The global research foundation ResearchAndMarkets.com estimates that the global plant-based meat market is valued at US$7.9 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach US$15.7 billion by 2027. Plant-based meat factory Thrive is equipped to support the supply of these products and meet the needs of nearly 30% of the total Gulf population, which research suggests will stand out strongly among the components of the Lean Vegan Diet in the future.

Thrive is an innovative plant-based food platform that combines ancient agricultural knowledge and expertise with modern food research and techniques while preserving the key and micronutrients of plants, and celebrating the different flavors of local cuisine.

Dubai Industrial City is a specialized business park of TECOM Group, which includes Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City, Dubai Production City, Dubai Science Park, Dubai Knowledge Park, Dubai International Academic City and Dubai Design District.