Stella McCartney headshot

Image credit: Stella McCartney Instagram


Stella McCartney Exposed Unfair Tax on Vegan Leather Bags at COP28

Celebrity British designer Stella McCartney launched a sustainable innovation exhibit during COP28 in Dubai to advocate for policy and regulatory change to decarbonise the fashion industry through alternative and innovative materials for leathers, furs, wool, feathers, and fills. According to Stella McCartney, the fashion industry is responsible for 8% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Meanwhile, its carbon footprint is expected to increase, driven by the growing population and consumption trends.  Speaking to CNN (at COP28), the fashion designer said that the current policies do not penalize environmentally and socially harmful practices, including deforestation, animal agriculture, and toxic leather tanning, which pose risks to humans and the planet. She explained that her vegan leather bags are “penalised” with a 30% tax in the USA, pointing out that adding …


Food for Climate Pavilion

© Food4Climate Pavilion

Fairs & Events

Food4Climate Pavilion Returns to COP to “Unlock Potential of Plant-Rich Diets”

For a second time, this year’s COP climate summit will feature pavilions dedicated to food system change, including the Food4Climate pavilion. Led by a coalition of leading plant-based and animal rights organizations, such as ProVeg International, World Animal Protection, and Upfield, the pavilion will spotlight the environmental impact of the food system to delegates from almost 200 countries. It will also outline how food production could be transformed to reach net zero, including through nature-positive farming practices, plant-rich diets, and alternative proteins. The aim is to mainstream the transition towards a more resilient food system, benefiting both the climate and people affected by food insecurity. Delegates will be encouraged to get involved in the pavilion through interactive exhibits, workshops, and presentations. The full programme can …


PXB Lifestyle food options


Gastronomy & Food Service

Loui Blake Unveils Plant-Based Culinary Concept PXB Lifestyle in Dubai

Celebrating World Vegan Day, entrepreneur Loui Blake, CEO of Miami Foods and seed investor in multiple alt-protein startups, introduces PXB Lifestyle at Expo City’s Sustainability Pavilion in Dubai. PXB Lifestyle aims to go beyond traditional dining by providing a platform for educating consumers about the impacts of a plant-based and vegan lifestyle on personal health and the environment. This dining venue offers a two-tiered experience through PXB Cafe and PXB Restaurant, featuring plant-based menus catering to daytime and evening dining. PXB Cafe’s menu includes notable items like the Carrot Lox Bagel and Katsu Rice, with dessert options like the Raw Carrot Cake. PXB Restaurant, situated on the top floor, offers a more refined rooftop dining experience with an impressive backdrop of Expo City. The menu …


COP28 to serve predominantly vegan and vegetarian food

Image courtesy of ProVeg

Fairs & Events

Two-Thirds of Food Served at COP28 Climate Summit Will Be Meat-Free

In what has been described as a “historic decision”, two-thirds of the food served at this year’s COP28 climate summit in Dubai will be vegan and vegetarian. The decision follows campaigning from youth group YOUNGO (the Youth and Children constituency of the UNFCCC) and its Food@COP campaign, supported by food awareness organization ProVeg International. The groups initially sent a letter to the COP28 presidency earlier this year calling for a mostly plant-based menu at the summit, and received a response confirming that plant-based options would be available. However, it was initially unclear what proportion of the food this would apply to. The final menu is described as “1.5°C aligned”, ensuring that delegates eat within a daily food budget that stays within the Paris Agreement goal …


Dubai's first vegan-friendly hotel rooms

© Minor Hotels

Tourism & Travel

Hotel Unveils “Dubai’s First” Vegan-Friendly Hotel Rooms

Dubai hotel NH Collection Dubai The Palm has launched what it claims are the city’s first vegan-friendly hotel rooms. The rooms feature sustainable, animal-free bedding and vegan snacks. They also contain environmentally friendly dry amenities — including compostable shower caps and sanitary bags — which all come in natural, plastic-free packaging. All wet amenities in the rooms are free of animal ingredients and have not been tested on animals. They also do not contain gluten, sulfates, or parabens. The hotel claims to offer a wide range of food and drink options that are suitable for vegan guests. Additionally, the building has introduced sustainable systems such as solar panels for water heating, the reuse of condensed water from the air conditioning system for irrigation, and an …


Switch Foods partners with Al Safadi

© Al Safadi/Switch Foods

Food Service

Dubai: Meat Alternatives by Switch Foods Launch at Restaurant Chain Run by Former Butcher

UAE-based meat alternatives manufacturer Switch Foods has announced a partnership with Al Safadi, a Lebanese restaurant chain in Dubai. Al Safadi will serve four dishes made with Switch Foods products: Fried kibbeh — Plant-based meat and bulgur dumplings with onions. Kabab khashkash — Minced and spiced plant-based lamb on a bed of crushed tomatoes. Lahem beajine — Flatbreads with ground plant-based meat. Hummus with plant-based meat and fries. The news follows a huge surge in interest in plant-based diets in the UAE. A recent YouGov survey found that over half of residents describe themselves as either flexitarian, vegetarian, or vegan, and the country is reportedly becoming a hotspot for plant-based foods. The collaboration is particularly significant given that Al Safadi’s founder, Fadi Al Safadi, is …


COP28 logo


Politics & Law

COP28 Set to Finally Address Food System for Climate Change, Catering Will Be “Predominantly” Plant-Based

COP28, the annual UN environmental summit taking place this year in Dubai from November 30 to December 12, will emphasize the imperative of a global dietary shift to combat climate change, representing the first time the event has addressed food system change as part of climate disaster mitigation. Notably, unlike previous COP events, the COP28 Presidency has also committed to predominantly plant-based catering along with emissions labelling on food. Additionally, it will introduce a dedicated Food Day and mark the debut of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) roadmap to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Furthermore, a coalition of NGOs will once again hold a Food4Climate Pavilion, marking the second time that COP has hosted the Pavilion, the only dedicated Pavilion to …


Plant-rich food at COP27

Image: Unsplash / Edgar Castrejon

Fairs & Events

Plant-Based Food to Be Served at COP28 Following Outreach by Youth Activists

The presidency of the COP28 climate summit has written to youth activists from the groups YOUNGO (Youth Climate Movement) and Food@COP to confirm that plant-based foods will be available at the event. It follows a letter sent by the groups with the help of ProVeg International, which called for at least three-quarters of the menu at COP28 to be plant-based. Additionally, the letter suggested that the food should be affordable, nutritious, culturally inclusive, sourced locally where possible, and feature clear emissions labeling. The response from the presidency confirms that the latter requests will be met, but there is currently no indication of what percentage of the food served will be plant-based. However, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber — the UAE COP28 President-Designate who signed the letter …


crabcake PLNT

Image courtesy of PLNT

Company News

PLNT Showcases Vegan Crab Cakes That “Smell and Taste Like Real Thing” at Gulfood

Dutch plant-based meat and seafood producer PLNT, part of the Future Food Group, is showcasing a vegan crabcake product at Gulfood, the world’s largest food exhibition, which says this year the event is 30 times larger than the previous year with over 5,000 exhibitors. The crabcakes are based on wheat protein along with spices and enhancers such as nori for a seafood flavour and “smell and taste like the real thing”, according to Khaleej Times. Plant meat born from meat Future Food Group debuted PLNT back in 2020, from parent company Jan Zandbergen Group which originated as a traditional butcher in the 1950s. Speaking at the time of the launch, Jos Havekotte, Innovation Manager at Future Food Group, commented: “Meat eaters are our target group. …


Neat Burger

© Neat Burger

Fast Food

Neat Burger to Expand into Dubai and Italy, With Eventual Retail Launch Planned

As reported by FoodNavigator, plant-based QSR chain Neat Burger is set to expand into new markets following its successful launch in the US. Co-founded by Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton, Neat Burger currently has eight locations in London and one in New York. The UK-headquartered chain will open its first Dubai location in November, and has also revealed plans to expand into Italy in the near future. Neat Burger says it will also eventually launch its products for retail, after first building up a customer base via its restaurants. The company cites other brands that have successfully made the transition, such as Pizza Express and Nando’s. Global expansion Neat Burger first announced plans to expand globally back in 2020, when it had just three restaurants. …


make it plant campaign logo


Company News

Upfield’s Global #makeitplant Campaign Will Educate & Encourage Chefs to Focus on Plant-Based

Upfield is to announce the launch of its #makeitplant campaign, at this year’s Worldchefs Congress & Expo 2022 at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from May 30 to June 2. Along with its portfolio brand Violife, Upfield intends to encourage and support the hospitality industry with the increasing demand for plant-based food with the new campaign. The #makeitplant campaign aims to ensure consumers have tasty and nutritious food options inside and outside the home, as well as to support and encourage chefs to focus on sustainable and dairy-free alternatives. As part of the campaign, Upfield will provide chefs with an “expansive” range of plant-based options for their menus and there will be dedication for junior and aspiring head chefs on the importance of using …


veganologie launches accessories with recycled materials

© Veganologie

Fashion, Design & Beauty

Veganologie Launches Accessories Made From Recycled Plastic Bottles

Dubai-based Veganologie launches accessories such as handbags and wallets, all made from recycled materials. When Angana Maheshwari began looking for a handbag that was sustainable, attractive, reasonably priced, and well-made, she couldn’t find anything that met her specifications — so she decided to design some. With time on her hands over lockdown, Maheshwari developed vegan bags, wallets, and credit card cases. The PU leather and vegan suede interior of the products are made entirely from recycled plastic bottles, while any hardware is made of fully recyclable zinc alloy. All packaging is also made from 100% recycled materials. Veganologie’s crossbody bags each use 11 plastic bottles, while the wallets are made from four bottles and the cardholders from two. The production process involves melting the bottles …


HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, founder and CEO, KBW Ventures

HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud © KBW Ventures


Vegconomist in Conversation With Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed

HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of KBW Ventures and the Founding Chairman of KBW Investments, which has funded extensively in the area of alternative proteins through a portfolio that includes several vegconomist favourites such as Rebellyous Foods, Turtle Tree Labs, Matthew Kenney, BlueNalu, Memphis Meats, Moku Foods, and Bond Pet Foods


Marcos Leta,Founder Future Farm

Company News

Future Farm Outperforms Beyond in UAE, is Fastest Growing Alt Meat Brand in Region

Brazil’s Fazenda Futuro, translated and branded as Future Farm in Western territories, reports its market performance in UAE with figures provided by Carrefour supermarkets, which operate the largest retail network in the region. Despite being the most recent newcomer in the UAE, Fazenda Futuro has outperformed its peers by far.