Top picks: Plant-based meat replacements popular alongside traditional foods for Eid Al Fitr festive season

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

Plant-based meat substitutes, such as seitan, tempeh, and tofu are gaining traction across the UAE, according to Truebell. ©Getty Images
Plant-based meat substitutes, such as seitan, tempeh, and tofu are gaining traction across the UAE, according to Truebell. ©Getty Images

Related tags: plant-based, Uae, Healthy food

Plant-based meat substitutes, such as seitan, tempeh, and tofu are gaining traction across the UAE, along with other traditional festive food, including dates, grains, pulses, and nuts.

UAE headquartered FMCG importer, Truebell, revealed the trending food items for the Eid Al Fitr season.

According to the firm’s director, Jitendra Gandhi, plant-based diets and meat replacements are gaining consumers’ support partly due to the various number of nutritional programmes in the region.

In response, the firm said it was looking to add on the number of brands offering these popular items in the next 12 months.

“Products such as dates, grains, pulses, nuts and plant-based meat replacements including seitan, tempeh and tofu - which will be commonly used for dishes such as hummus, al hares, ouzi, ferni, aishu laham and fouga over the Eid - are gaining traction across the region and over the next 12 months we will looking to add brands that fit into these categories to our ever-expanding portfolio,”​ Gandhi said.

He stressed that plans were already in place to increase the number of plant-based foods and dietary supplements such as probiotics, with further announcements expected in the third and fourth quarters of this year.

According to Euromonitor’s Gulfood Industry Outlook Report 2019, the Middle East and North African (MENA) region is predicted to lead the global health and wellness packaged food market growth​ in the next five years.

This is partly due to an expanding middle class who are more likely to spend on health and wellness products, said the report.

In the UAE, some of the well-known plant-based food names include Global Food Industries, which officially unveiled its “Never from Meat” burger​ during Gulfood in February this year.

The product is made up of a mix of plant protein, including pea, quinoa, and kale, which also won the Most Innovative Halal Food during the trade show.

FOMILK, a Turkish plant-based milk firm​, also enjoys a presence in the UAE, and other GCC states such as Oman and Kuwait.

Ramadan food trade

Latest statistics from Dubai Customs showed that the emirate’s external trade in Ramadan foodstuff during the first quarter of 2019 had totalled to AED$8.3bn (US$2.3bn)

According to the customs authority, the foodstuffs traded weighed a total of 1.5m tonnes, spanning across meats, sugar, vegetables, flour, rice, nuts, bottled water, juice and dates.

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