Meat processor Tanmiah Food Company, which is based in Saudi Arabia, has said it is considering developing plant-based meat alternatives.
If the plan goes ahead, the alt-meat products will likely be launched in the UAE, where demand for healthier and more sustainable options is growing. Bahrain and Qatar are also potential markets.
Tanmiah told Gulf News that while chicken sales remain high, beef sales are falling, prompting a search for alternatives. However, plant-based products are still new territory even in the UAE, and demand is currently somewhat limited. For this reason, Tanmiah is not yet sure whether it will enter the market. The company says it will make a decision by the end of the year.
Plant-based in the UAE
The UAE’s plant-based market may still be in its early stages, but things are changing. For example, one of the country’s biggest supermarkets Spinneys launched a Power of Plants initiative last year to encourage customers to try a vegan diet. Entirely plant-based companies, such as children’s food startup Sprouts, are also springing up in the UAE.
“We do believe a market is there for plant-based protein products in the UAE, Bahrain and Qatar in particular,” Zulfiqur Hamadani, CEO of Tanmiah, told Gulf News. “There are some initial studies we find particularly interesting as consumers seek healthier options. So, if they find plant-based protein options that taste like chicken or beef, we could try and serve them what they want.”