Gulfood 2018

Superfood-based burgers and nuggets launched by UAE firm that grows kale in the desert

By Gary Scattergood contact

- Last updated on GMT

Jack Plew, centre, collects the Gulfood Innovation Award.
Jack Plew, centre, collects the Gulfood Innovation Award.
UAE manufacturer Global Food Industries (GFI) has launched a new range of ‘healthy’ burgers and nuggets featuring superfoods quinoa and kale in at attempt to help tackle the region’s rising rates of obesity and diabetes.

The Healthy Farm range was officially unveiled at the recent Gulfood show in Dubai, where it picked up a Gulfood Innovation award.

The products make on-pack claims for having no preservatives, no added monosodium glutamate (MSG), no mechanically deboned meat, no trans-fats, no sugars, no food fillers, no food colouring and no gluten.  

They feature a blend of boneless halal chicken breast, red quinoa, kale, and seven other mixed vegetables, and contain one gram of fat per 60gm of patty or nuggets.

General manager Jacek Plewa told us the food industry had a responsibility to tackle rising cases of obesity and diabetes in the Middle East.

“These products have been driven by local insights and local needs. At the moment, parents have a dilemma over what they feed their children or put in their lunchboxes. We know children like to eat nuggets and burgers so we have a responsibility to provide an option that is healthy, affordable and lives up to its claims.”

The company, part of Albatha Holding, has spent two years developing the range, which also includes the Aqua Kale 7 Portions beverage.

The products will soon be rolled-out across all GCC nations, apart from Qatar.

Consumer awareness

Plew said the firm had also received interest from the US and Singapore, and was keen to explore global export opportunities.

For now, though, the focus is on the UAE where he concedes consumer awareness around the benefits of kale remains low.

“We need to bring these benefits to the consumer and help them understand what these products can offer,”​ he added. “We believe that not only are these products more healthy, but they also taste great. Once consumers try them, we are confident they will be very successful.”

“The products have 30% more protein, 60% less calories and 90% more fibre. These products address increasing consumer demand for true health and wellness products and our ambition is for a million people to try our products this year.”

In order to create a reliable supply, the firm has invested considerable sums to grow organic aqua kale right in the middle of the desert.

From germinating of seeds to harvest takes 90 days, and the site has capacity to produce 30,000 tonnes each year.

“This has been a very big commitment and we are the only company in the region to it. I think this shows our determination to bring this ingredient and its health benefits to the region,”​ added Plew.


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